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Full text of "Haremlik : some pages from the life of Turkish women"



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HAREMLIK 



H A R E M L I K 

SOME PAGES FROM THE LIFE OF 
TURKISH WOMEN 

BY 

DEMETRA VAKA 

(MRS. KENNETH BROWN) 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

MDCCCCIX 



COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY DEMETRA KENNETH BROWN 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



Published May iqoq 



To KENNETH BROWN 

WHO HAS NOT CROSSED THE THRESHOLD OF A 

HAREM, BUT WITHOUT WHOSE HELP THESE 

FRIENDS OF MINE WOULD NEVER 

HAVE CROSSED THEIRS 



NOTE 

The contents of this book are not ficti- 
tious, unusual as parts of it may appear to 
American readers. There has been some 
rearranging of facts, to make for compact- 
ness — incidents of several days have some- 
times been told as of one. Substantially, 
however, everything is true as told. 



CONTENTS 

I. Coming Home to Turkey .... i 
II. MiHiRMAH 30 

III. DjIMLAH, THE THINKER, SeLIM PA- 

sha's Fourth Wife 59 

IV. Valid6 H anoum, the Resigned First 

Wife 84 

V. The Gift-Wife from the Sultan's 

Palace 96 

VI. HouLME H ANOUM, THE Discontented 129 

VII. Suffragettes of the Harem . .153 

VIII. The Love of Nor-Sembah and Ha- 

KiF Bey 191 

IX. A Day's Entertainment in the Ha- 
rem 219 

X. A Flight from the Harem . . . 249 



COMING HOME TO TURKEY 

The mist was slowly lifting — so slowly 
that one could imagine an invisible hand to 
be reluctantly drawing aside veils from the 
face of nature. As the air became clearer, 
the slender minarets were seen first above 
the other buildings ; and then, little by little, 
Constantinople, Queen of Cities, revealed 
herself to our hungry eyes. And as if Nature 
were but Constantinople's handmaiden, the 
last of the fog was suddenly transmuted to 
glorious sunshine, that we might the more 
surely be surprised and dazzled with the 
beauty of the Sultan's capital. 

The steamer slowly puffed onward. On 
one side of us lay the seven-hilled city, where 
all races dwell peacefully together; on the 



other was Stamboul, the ancient capital of 
Byzantium, with the remnants of its old wall, 
and the ever famous Old Serai, dark and 
mysterious as the crimes committed within 
its walls. 

To the other passengers all was new and 
thrilling, and they were rushing from one 
side of the steamer to the other, exclaiming, 
shouting, incapable, it seemed to me, of ap- 
preciating the splendors nature was lavishing 
before their eyes. The more beauty they 
saw, the more they shouted, as if by power 
of lung they could induce their souls to ad- 
miration. 

I sat quietly in my steamer-chair, too 
much moved for any expression. To me it 
was all familiar, and dear as it could not be to 
casual tourists. I knew the lights and shad- 
ows of this land, and loved them as one 
loves one's native country ; for Constantinople 
was my birthplace, as it had been that of all 
my ancestors for seven centuries. But I knew 
that the chorus of delight and admiration 

2 



would become critical as soon as we should 
be landed. To me there was poetry in every- 
thing; but these others would see only the 
narrow, dirty streets; and the stray dogs — 
most vitally characteristic of Turkey — 
would be just so many snapping curs, howl- 
ing and littering the streets. 

Towards us there came a small tug, with 
the same smokestack as that of our steamer, 
and a conversation started between our cap- 
tain and an inspector of the line. I heard the 
words that passed between them in Italian, 
and threw back my head and laughed. 

"What is it, mademoiselle?" asked a 
French colonel sitting beside me. 

''We cannot land," I explained. Though 
I had laughed, I was bitterly disappointed. 
I felt as a mother must when her baby mis- 
behaves before her friends. 

''Why can we not land?" 

For a minute I doubted whether it would 
be wise for me to speak. Of the thirty-five 
passengers I was the only one who knew 

3 



-iU£,^r> 



Italian, and therefore, in spite of the loud 
conversation, I was the only one who had 
understood what passed between the captain 
and the inspector. 

**You wished to see the Bosphorus the 
first day," I said at length to the Frenchman. 
*'Your wish will be granted: we are going 
now to the head of the Bosphorus." 

*'But why do we not land here?" 

'Xolonel, after I have answered you, let 
my words remain yours alone." I pointed to 
the city, every minute growing lovelier, and 
gave him the one horrid word — ''Plague!" 

The Frenchman turned pale. ''Not really, 
mademoiselle?" 

I nodded. "Just so! Only don't let it 
worry you in the least. I have lived through 
many plagues here ; for it comes yearly, and 
its duration depends entirely on the amount 
of money needed to be extracted from the 
imperial treasury." 

It was natural that the Frenchman should 
look at me as if I were losing my mind. It 

4 



^JjULo^^ 



takes a lifetime to understand many things in 
Turkey: it takes generations to understand 
the political machinations. The press is not 
permitted to publish the news; and by the 
time plain facts have passed through the 
tenth mouth, they have borrowed such gor- 
geous hues of phantasy that it takes a seer to 
discover the original grain of truth. The 
Oriental — forbidden the truth — finds so- 
lace in the magnificence of his inventions. 

"What do you mean?" the Frenchman 
asked again. For three years he had been 
in command of the smallest fortress in the 
world, which is on the island of Crete. He 
had flown the five flags of the powers over 
his tiny fortifications, and thought he knew 
Turkey and the Turks — as foreigners do, 
who have lived in the Sultan's dominion for 
a time. But I was a Turkish subject, and we 
had been Turkish subjects ever since there 
had been Turks in Europe. 

"I mean this," I replied. '* Money is 
needed by the officials. The public treasury 

5 



.JjULo,h£> 



is empty. The Sultan hugs his own — as 
usual over-filled. He can be made to give 
a little, if frightened, and the plague does 
frighten him : not the actual disease, but the 
quarantining, and the complaints of the 
foreign powers. So he will dole out money 
to clean the city. A little of this will be spent 
on cleaning — the rest will go to the inter- 
ested officials. If the Sultan does not give 
enough at first, the plague will continue until 
he gives the necessary amount. I know a 
Greek gentleman into whose pocket a little 
of that money will go. He holds quite an 
exalted governmental position, but the gov- 
ernment has forgotten to pay him for the last 
ten or fifteen years." 

While we were talking, our boat was steam- 
ing on, and the marvellous Bosphorus began 
to show us its beauties. Its hills — those never- 
to-be-forgotten hills — appeared now green, 
now violet, then purple, and again blue. I 
have watched them for years, and they are 
never alike. They are small or large, straight- 

6 



lined or full of curves, according to the light, 
and the hour, and the season. And the deep 
blue sky hangs low over them, loving them; 
and it gives to the waters of the Bosphorus 
its own blue tint, and makes of them living 
waters, as they hurry on to the Mediterranean. 

At the very end of the Bosphorus, where 
there were no houses, — nothing but a bar- 
ren rock, — the steamer stopped, and its little 
boats dumped us on shore. Then it went 
away, having escaped the quarantining in 
Russia, which would have been its fate had 
it touched at an infected port. 

We waited here for several hours, all three 
classes of passengers mixed indiscriminately 
together. The others fumed and fretted, but 
I was quite content. In Turkey I forget the 
value of time. Every minute of living there 
is joy; why hurry it by? 

It was late in the afternoon when a small 
steamer called for us, and we went down the 
Bosphorus. And now, in the waning light, 
the river had changed again, and in its new 

7 



-iiULo 



beauties even the other passengers forgot 
hunger, thirst, fatigue, and indignation. As 
we drew near Stamboul, Saint Sophia rose 
above the other mosques, and against the 
dark blue sky seemed to me more gigantic 
than when I saw it last. I thought of its mys- 
terious, closed door, of which every Greek 
child learns in infancy. I had first seen that 
door with the believing eyes of childhood, 
for which no myth is unreal. Later, I had 
seen it with the eyes of the grown-up girl, 
whose soul begins to doubt the world, and 
whose mind Occidental education renders 
sceptical. But think as I might, — even now, 
after six years of work in practical America, 
— that little door to me, as to all Greeks, 
contained the hope of our race. No matter 
where we may have been born, nor where our 
ancestors may have been born, that closed 
little door means everything to all those in 
whose veins flows the blood which belongs to 
Greece, and which, when the time comes, 
must be shed for the freedom of the greater 
8 



Greece, still under the yoke of Turkey — for 
Macedonia, for Albania, for Thrace, for 
Thessaly, for all the Greek islands, and, 
above all, for Constantinople. 

Here is the myth, which has been repeated 
to every Greek child for nearly five hundred 
years : That door has not been opened since 
the fatal day the Turkish army entered 
Constantinople in 1453, when Constantinos 
Paleologos, the last Greek Emperor, fell de- 
fending his capital. 

It was on an Easter Sunday, and the 
clergy were officiating in Saint Sophia. 
When the cry rang through the church that 
Mahomet II had taken the city, the clergy, 
grasping the bejewelled Bible, which had 
been in Saint Sophia since the Bible was put 
together, and the Communion Cup, rushed 
into the little side room, and closed the door 
behind them. It has never been opened since, 
in spite of all the efforts of the Turks ; and we 
children of the Greeks are told that, before 
the door closed the Bishop of Constantinople 

9 



.JjUk 



said that he would come out and finish the 
Holy Liturgy on the day when a Greek army 
should march back into Constantinople 
again, and give it to its rightful ruler and its 
own religion. 

This is the story of the little closed door. 
Told to us in our cradles, we implicitly be- 
lieve it for years, — and, who knows, in spite 
of the scepticism of the age, perhaps we be- 
lieve it until we die. All I know is that I never 
look at Saint Sophia without thinking of the 
little door and what it stands for, and never 
go into the magnificent building without go- 
ing to look at it, — just as I always go to see 
the Venus of Milo in the Louvre. Deep in 
my heart is the belief that to be as beautiful 
as she is, and to have lived so many centuries 
commanding the admiration of the world, 
something immortal from the soul of Prax- 
iteles must have passed into the statue. And 
because of that thought I cannot help feeling 
that the beautiful statue on its pedestal, in 
that cold, dark place, must be unhappy and 

lO 



^jjJiMj^^ 



homesick ; and as soon as I am in Paris I go 
and stand by her railing. When we are left 
alone, she and I, I speak to her in Greek. I 
tell her of all the doings of the Greeks, and 
little by little, as if a ray of the Attic sun were 
falling on the white marble, the whiteness 
softens; it becomes mellower, yellower, and 
alive, — as the marble is in Greece, — until 
I can see her shiver. The immortal spark in 
her is awake. The beauty of the face becomes 
human, the lips move, and she speaks. But 
what she says is only for her and me — per- 
haps it is of the day when the little door in 
Saint Sophia will open, and the holy mass 
will be finished, and the Greeks, again 
leaders of the world, will gather up all our 
exiles and bring them back to live under 
the sky of Hellas. 

I came out of my dreams when we ap- 
proached the Galata Bridge landing, and 
disembarked, not into a Christian Constanti- 
nople, but a Mussulman. Yet I do not hate 
the Turks as many Greeks do. On the con- 

II 



trary, I love them ; for I know all their good 
points and their virtues. Moreover, they 
conquered us fairly, because our race had 
decayed. It is our task to deserve to rule 
again for something besides the memories of 
our splendid past. 

It was very natural, coming home to Tur- 
key. I was born a Turkish subject, and as 
such I returned. I found nothing changed. 
Everything was as I had left it ; and when I 
met my mother, we finished the argument I 
had so cavalierly interrupted six years before. 

Yet, though nothing else had changed, I 
had. I returned to my native land with new 
ideas, and a mind full of Occidental ques- 
tioning, and I meant to find out things. 
Many of my childhood friends had been 
Turkish girls : them I now looked upon with 
new interest. Before, I had taken them and 
their way of living as a matter of course. 
Generations of my ancestors had prepared 
me for them, and I had lived among them, 
looking upon their customs and habits as 

12 



quite as natural as my own. But during my 
stay in America I heard Turkey spoken of 
with hatred and scorn, the Turks reviled as 
despicable, their women as miserable crea- 
tures, living in practical slavery for the base 
desires of men. I had stood bewildered at 
this talk. Could it possibly be as the Ameri- 
cans said, and I never have known it? 

Now, I was to see for myself, and not only 
to see but to talk with the women, to ask 
them their thoughts about their lives and 
their customs. 

When I went away from Turkey I was but 
a young girl, an idealist, believing implicitly 
in the goodness of the world. I was now six 
years older, and I knew the world as a girl 
has to learn it who is suddenly thrown on her 
own resources in a strange land. Out of that 
experience I was going to study the Turkish 
women who had been my friends in my girl- 
hood. Naturally I was delighted, only a few 
days after my arrival, to receive the following 
letter: — 

13 



Jjlpjj^ 



Beloved One, from a far-away country come : 

Do you remember your young friends ; or 
have hooks and knowledge within them made 
your formerly dear heart like a bookcase ? If 
you still love us, come to see us. 

Two loving hearts, and the little buds that 
have sprung from them, 

Nassarah and Tsakran, their buds, and 
their gardener. 

This little letter, with its English words and 
Turkish phraseology, set me dreaming of the 
many hours they and I had spent happily 
together on the shores of the Bosphorus, 
before I came to America. And I was filled 
with curiosity to see how two girls whom I 
had known so intimately could dwell in such 
apparent happiness, while sharing the love 
of a husband between them. A few days 
later a male slave came for me and my trunk, 
to pay a visit to the two roses, their buds, and 
their gardener, who lived some distance away 
in Dolma Baktshfe. 

14 



I arrived at their house a h'ttle before lunch 
time. A French maid received me and helped 
me off with my wraps, and then a slave con- 
ducted me to the Turkish bath, that I might 
rid myself entirely of the dust and fatigue of 
the short journey. After I had been thor- 
oughly scrubbed and put into clean clothes, 
another slave brought me a cup of black 
coffee ; and only after these preliminaries did 
my hostesses burst into my room, as if I had 
just arrived. It is a blessed custom which 
permits guests to be cleaned and refreshed 
before meeting their hosts. I had lived so 
long in a civilized country that I had for- 
gotten how much more civilized, in some 
respects, uncivilized Turkey is. 

Nassarah and Tsakran, though married 
and the mothers of two children each, were 
as gay and full of life as when they and I 
rolled hoops along the Bosphorus and cast 
pebbles into it. They looked like sisters, 
and very loving ones. One was clad in a 
loose pink silk garment, the other in rich 

15 



yellow, and both had their dark hair dressed 
with pale pink plumes. They seized me and 
nearly carried me into their living-room, 
made of glass and called yally kiosky, *' glass 
pavilion." There we reclined on low divans 
and talked for a few minutes before luncheon 
was announced. 

The dining-room was not different from a 
European dining-room. I gave a sigh for 
the good old times when the Turks used to 
sit with their feet curled under them and eat 
with the ten forks and spoons that nature 
had provided them with, maintaining that 
taste is first transmitted through the finger- 
tips. However, nothing of the delicious food 
itself was European, and I was delighted to 
see the courses brought on in brass trays 
carried on the heads of the slaves. When the 
meal was finished a slave came in carrying 
a brass wash-basin. Another followed with a 
graceful brass pitcher of water; and still a 
third followed with soap, perfumes, and towels 
— and we might just as well have eaten with 
i6 



our fingers after all. When we were again 
seated, or rather reclining, in the yally kiosky, 
I said : — 

^^Now talk to me." 

Nassarah took some tobacco with her 
slender fingers and rolled a cigarette, which 
she passed to the second wife of her husband. 
Rolling one for herself, she coaxed the flame 
of a match between her palms and lighted 
them. Then she turned to me. 

**What would you like me to tell you, Al- 
lah's beloved?" she asked. 

'^Tell me about your marriage and how 
you both happened to get the same husband," 
I said impertinently. 

At that both began to giggle, and embrace 
each other, and make funny faces, like two 
children. 

'^Tell her, Nassarah," said Tsakran, "tell 
her!" 

Most Turkish women are natural come- 
dians, and Nassarah had been a capital one 
from her childhood. She looked about her, 

17 



taking in her audience, which consisted, 
besides Tsakran and myself, of about ten 
young slaves, a sort of ladies in attendance. 
Then, as if she were a miradju about to tell a 
story, she began with their customary words : 

*' The beginning of the tale ! Good evening, 
most honorable company!'' 

All giggled delightedly at this. 

''When I married Hilmi Pasha I was so 
much in love with him I was nearly crazy. I 
could not go to sleep, but just lay there while 
he slept, and watched him, and — " 

''Oh, you must see him," the second wife 
burst in. " He is an ideal lover ! Blond, with 
blue eyes, and such a lovely mustache; and 
tall, with such a beautiful figure!'' And 
thereupon she jumped up and began to walk 
up and down, to give me an idea of Hilmi 
Pasha's lordly gait. 

Nassarah grabbed her, however, and 
pulled her back to her divan. 

"Keep quiet!" she said. "I am telling 
the story." 

i8 



.iJULo/£> 



Tsakran made a face at her suppression, 
and then gave a kiss to the other wife. 

**I was telling you," Nassarah went on, 
"that I was so much in love I could not sleep. 
A year later my girl, my Zelma, was born, 
and I was more and more in love with my 
lord." 

At this point she threw herself on her 
knees, laid her arms on the floor, bent her 
head down on them, and prayed aloud that 
Allah might never permit her to live to see 
sorrow fall on her master. Tsakran and the 
slaves did the same, and for a few minutes 
the room was filled with their wailing voices. 
But this did not last long, and then, as cheer- 
fully as ever, Nassarah Hanoum continued : 

"Then my other little girl came, and I 
suffered — oh ! how I suffered ! And the 
learned doctor was called in, and he said 
I should live, but no more children for me. 
And I had no boy! No, no boy for my 
Hilmi Pasha! Just then Tsakran came to 
see me." 

19 



.JJJuL 



The mention of the auspicious visit was 
too much for the two wives, and again they 
fell upon each other's necks, giggling and 
kissing. 

'^It was then I thought of a plan, and told 
Tsakran of it. I was not going to let Hilmi 
Pasha die without a son. Here was Tsak- 
ran, young and beautiful, and ready to marry ; 
for she knew what a good lord Hilmi is." 

Tsakran nodded at me violendy. 

**That night, when Hilmi Pasha's most 
beautiful head was resting on a most white 
pillow, I put my arms around his neck and 
told him my plan, and talked and talked, so 
that next day it was arranged that Tsakran 
was to be made ready to marry my Hilmi." 

She made an oratorical pause, and looked 
around her. ''Allah rewarded us," she said. 
"Two boys have been born, the one within 
two years of the other." 

At this point in the narrative a slave an- 
nounced Hilmi Pasha. The ladies in attend- 
ance all rose, bowed, and went out. 
20 



I barely remembered Hilmi Pasha, al- 
though I had known him before I went away 
from Turkey. When he came in, he kissed 
his first wife first, then his second, and it 
seemed to me that there was a difference in 
his manner to the two, the first kiss being 
that of a lover, the second that of an older 
man to a pet child. 

He talked with me concerning affairs in 
America. It was just after the assassina- 
tion of President McKinley. All the papers 
printed in Turkey were only permitted to say 
that he had died of indigestion. The news 
of the murder of a ruler can never be printed 
in Turkey, because it is supposed to put ideas 
into the heads of the malcontents. How- 
ever, every one in Turkey who counted at 
all knew the truth about McKinley and 
discussed it. 

Hilmi Pasha expressed his astonishment 
at the inability of the American govern- 
ment to suppress the anarchists. *^ Is n't he 
the third one they have killed?'' he asked. 

21 



.jjUU^o 



I explained that Lincoln and Garfield were 
not killed by anarchists, but Hilmi Pasha 
only smiled as much as to say, — in our 
slang, — *'What are you giving us?" In 
Turkey the truth about public matters is so 
often suppressed that he thought I had some 
reason for not telling it now. 

Since his two wives could hardly follow 
a conversation on American politics, Hilmi 
Pasha turned to Nassarah and asked her if 
she had finished her French novel. From 
that the talk drifted to French literature com- 
pared to English and American. In the 
midst of our conversation a slave brought in 
two backgammon boards, handsomely inlaid 
with ivory, and placed them on low tables 
similarly inlaid. Then we played this game 
so universal in Turkey, Hilmi Pasha playing 
first with me, then with his first, and then 
with his second wife. 

The children came in next and were all 
kissed by their father, beginning with the 
eldest, a beautiful girl with light hair and 

22 



.J})jojJ:> 



dark eyes, named Zelma after the heroine 
of a French novel. 

I stayed visiting my friends for ten days. 
In the morning we would get up and spend 
a good part of the forenoon in the Turkish 
bath together. After luncheon we would lie 
about on couches, reading, and playing cards 
and backgammon, or listening to the dra- 
matic or spicy tales of the miradjus, the pro- 
fessional women story-tellers. Then we would 
go for long walks, and sit on the hilltops to 
watch the sun set. 

One day they proposed that I should ac- 
company them on a visit to a friend of theirs 
some seven hours distant. I accepted, on 
condition that they would travel in the regu- 
lar Turkish fashion and not in broughams. 
They joyously agreed, and the next morning 
two large, springless wagons, covered like 
prairie schooners, were waiting at the door. 
Their floors were covered with thick mat- 
tresses, and wives, slaves, and children all 
climbed in, and we were off. 

23 



.Msj^ 



Halfway on our journey we ate luncheon 
by a fountain in a little valley finely culti- 
vated as a market garden. There were with 
us a eunuch and two slaves whose especial 
duty it was to sing and play to enliven the 
journey. I was dressed in Turkish fashion, 
to avoid causing remark from other travellers, 
and for comfort. 

At the end of our journey we were received 
in a large bedroom, where slave women un- 
dressed us and took us to the bathing-house 
on the shore of the sea. After the bath, we 
were put in loose, clean garments lent us by 
the mistress of the house. Thus attired, we 
next came to the waiting-room, where the 
hostess received us. She was middle-aged, 
and from her deeply dyed finger-nails I knew 
that she was of the old school. She spoke 
nothing except Turkish, but that with a vol- 
ubiHty to frighten a lawyer. Her waiting- 
room was very old-fashioned. A settle ran 
around two sides of the room, covered with 
hard cushions. There were no chairs. We 
24 



-iAU 



all sat in a row, with our feet curled under 
us, and drank sherbet. Two copper-colored 
slaves came in, very lightly clothed, and 
danced a Circassian dance. Then an old 
miradju told us a story. The miradjus play 
an important part in old-fashioned harem 
life. Some of them have great imaginative 
power, invent their own stories, and attain 
to considerable fame, as a writer does with 
us. Others merely repeat what they have 
been taught, though they may embellish it 
by their personality in reciting, as an actor 
embellishes his part. 

The story that day was the well-known one 
of Derfe Vdr^, a rather Boccaccian tale, that 
pointed a strong moral, however. Our prose 
troubadour put marvellous facial expression 
into her rendering of it, and kept her audi- 
ence of some twenty-five women deeply in- 
terested. When she finished we all exclaimed, 
^'Mashalah ! Mashalah /" in admiration and 
applause. When this was over, dinner was 
served in the garden, which was surrounded 

25 



by a high wall. We sat on the grass, and ate 
from low tables. 

I learned that night, from Nassarah and 
Tsakran, that our hostess was the fourth wife 
of a very rich pasha. She was reputed an 
extremely clever talker, which counts for a 
great deal in Turkey. She could not, how- 
ever, get along with the other three wives, — 
it may be by reason of her gift, — and there- 
fore she lived by herself with her retinue. 
She had two grown sons, both in the army, 
and was very anxious to make a marriage 
between her youngest son and Nassarah's 
eldest daughter. This proposed alliance 
kept the two families in close friendship, 
and although Zelma was still several years 
too young to marry, she called our hostess 
*^ mother," and treated her with great cere- 
mony. 

We stayed there three days, and I met 
several friends of the old Hanoum. Turkish 
women do not make our abominable ab- 
breviated calls. When they call, they bring 

26 



their work and spend the day. They are 
clever needle-workers, and some of them 
imitate flowers wonderfully in their embroid- 
ery. Naturally they were very curious about 
America, and I told them much of woman's 
position here. In their expressive faces I 
read their pity for them, and inwardly I 
smiled as I thought of the pity that American 
women feel for them. 

We made the return trip on a beautiful 
moonlight night. When we came to start we 
found our wagons festooned with purple and 
yellow wistaria. To make the journey pleas- 
anter, our hostess and her retinue accom- 
panied us halfway, bringing also a wagon 
full of Armenian hanendes, men musicians, 
to play and sing to us. 

Thus in my first harem visit I saw nothing 
but pleasant relations existing between the 
various women dwelling under the same 
roof. It is true that both Nassarah and Tsak- 
ran were sweet, commonplace young women 

27 



— not very dififerent by nature from many 
commonplace American friends I have, 
whose lives are spent with dressmakers, 
manicures, masseuses, and in various frivo- 
lous pursuits. With these two young women 
and their friends I had a peaceful and pleas- 
ant time. Except for the absence of men I 
might almost have been visiting an American 
household. What difference existed was to 
the advantage of the Turkish girls. They 
were entirely natural and spontaneous. They 
did not pretend to be anything that they were 
not. They were as happy and merry as little 
brooks, whose usefulness was limited, but 
who at least had no aspirations to pass for 
rivers. They were good mothers, and made 
one man blissfully happy. They read a lot of 
French novels, without pretending that they 
did it for the sake of ** culture." They took 
everything naturally, and enjoyed it natu- 
rally. There was no unwholesome introspec- 
tion — that horrible attribute of the average 
half-educated European and American wo- 
28 



,JjULg>e> 



man. They never dreamed of setting the 
world aright; and when I talked cant to them 
to see how they would take it, they looked 
at me in bewilderment, then laughed and 
exclaimed : — 

*^ Why, little blossom ! Allah meant women 
to be beautiful and good; to be true wives, 
and real mothers. Is n't that enough for a 
mere woman?'' 

I went away from them with the regret with 
which one leaves something good and whole- 
some, but also I was disappointed. I wanted 
to see something new and different; I wanted 
to discuss and vivisect — and Nassarah and 
Tsakran were too healthy and happy for 
that. My next visit, however, was of quite 
another character. In it I went beneath the 
surface as far as I could wish. 



II 

MIHIRMAH 

It had been hot all day long, oppressively 
so; and even now that it was dark, the heat 
had not relented. Pera, that city of curious 
noises, was sending up to me the echoing 
shouts of its venders. In Constantinople the 
small merchants carry their wares on their 
backs, and advertise their quality by power 
of lung. To the conglomeration of advertis- 
ing tunes was added the shrill monotonous 
barking of the world-famed dogs, who bark, 
apparently, with the simple desire of adding 
to the noises of the hot city; for they bark 
even when eating. 

The mixture of sounds about me was 
rapidly depressing me, when a servant came 
into my room, stumbled over a chair, in the 
semi-obscurity, and handed me a note. 

^'A slave, mademoiselle, brought it, and 
is waiting for an answer." 

30 



A slave ! The word was poetry. It opened 
a vista of large, bare Turkish rooms, of low, 
linen-covered divans, of filmy clothes, bare 
feet, absolute inaction, cooling sherbets — 
and of quiet. I opened the note and, with the 
help of a candle, read : — 

Little Cherry Blossom: — 

The wind brings me joyous news of your 
sweet presence in our miserable city. No won- 
der the sky is bluer and the scent of the flowers 
sweeter. Will you not, Allah^s beloved, glad- 
den a human heart by your luminous presence? 
Come to me ! Hasten to my bosom, so that I 
may tell you how happy I shall be to see you 
again. I live now at Chartal. Tell me the 
train which will be honored by you, and slaves 
will meet you. 

MlHIRMAH. 

'^Well," I muttered to myself, ^^I am glad 
she does not attribute this intense heat to my 
luminous presence.'' And to her flowery note 
I scribbled an answer in pencil, on the back 

31 



of my card, telling her that I would come to 
her on the next afternoon boat. 

And it was at the quaint landing of Asiatic 
Chartal that a spacious ox-wagon met me; 
and, contrary to all Ottoman etiquette, it was 
my hostess herself who was there to receive 
me, — Mihirmah, in a loose, pale-blue silk 
garment, looking as cool as the European 
women looked hot and uncomfortable in their 
tight clothes, 

"Dear little thunder-storm, do forgive me 
for coming myself," she begged, while we 
were embracing. "I had to come. But you 
shall be left alone to rest as soon as we reach 
home." 

The word "thunder-storm" made me 
laugh. "Mihirmah, dear, I haven't heard 
that name applied to me for years. Horrible 
as it sounds, and great a reflection as it is on 
my temper, yet it does me good to hear it." 

" Why ! Do you mean to say that you don't 
get angry any more when poor Turkish chil- 
dren wish to oppose you?" 

32 



"You forget that I don't live among Turk- 
ish people any more/' 

"Well, you are among them now, praise 
be to Allah!" 

With that we stepped into the ox- wagon. 
There we reclined on the soft mattresses, 
while the dark silk curtains with their gold 
tassels flapped in and out, a kind of Eastern 
electric fan — primitive, but very attractive. 

After a drive of a mile and a half through 
streets as yet unspoiled by Europeans, we 
came to Mihirmah's dwelling. It was a ram- 
bling old structure, half stucco and half wood, 
and, like most Turkish houses, surrounded 
by an immense old-fashioned garden, in- 
closed by a tall wall. The house was almost 
overhanging the sea of the Propontis, and not 
far from the house were tents, where one 
could camp out at a moment's notice. 

All the slaves were in the hall, as we en- 
tered, and threw rose-blossoms over us. My 
hostess turned to a pretty young slave of 
about fifteen, and said : — 

33 



"Guselli [beauty] here is your mistress. 
You are to love her as you love your own 
face, and to take care of her as if she were 
your own eyes." 

With this she kissed me and went away. 
All the slaves followed her, bowing to the 
floor, and kissing their fingers to tell me that 
I was welcome. Guselli and I were left alone 
to bathe and to rest. 

When I opened my eyes a few hours later, 
I was covered with flowers, and my hostess 
was leaning over me, coaxing me to awake. 

'^You lazy little thunder-storm, I have 
been sitting here waiting to welcome you 
formally to my home, and you have allowed 
your spirit to wander thousands of miles 
from here. Get up, and let us go to the gar- 
den, where dinner has been waiting for us 
ever so long." 

As I played with the flowers I also ex- 
amined my hostess, clad in a yellow silk 
entere, her throat bare, and her head adorned 
with amber beads. 
34 



-JJUL2>£> 



"My dear," I exclaimed, ''do you know 
that you have more than fulfilled your pro- 
mise? You are stunning." 

''I know it," she said simply. She lifted 
me to my feet. ''But now we must run!" 

And run we did, down to a part of the 
garden overhanging the sea. There our din- 
ner was served, beneath the light of Chinese 
lanterns, while the soothing waves of the 
Propontis rhythmically lapped the foot of 
our garden wall. 

So far I knew absolutely nothing of Mihir- 
mah's grown-up life. I had seen nothing of 
her for ten years. We had been friends in 
childhood, and even after she had gone from 
Constantinople to Broussa to live, we had 
written to each other for several years. That 
night, when we were comfortably settled in 
her room, I asked her : — 

"Mihirmah, tell me all about yourself — 
and how did you find out that I was here?" 

"Djimlah told me, and that you were 
going to stay some time with her. And I 

35 



thought if you could do that, you might also 
be able to come here to me, little white lamb. 
And you do love me as much as ever, do you 
not?" 

I reassured her. She embraced me several 
times, and gave me assurance of her own 
undying affection; then asked: *^Now tell 
me how the world has treated you?" 

''Treated me!" I repeated, knowing that 
in Oriental eyes matrimony was the only 
treatment worth recording. ''It hasn't 
treated me at all. I am earning my living." 

"My! But it must be funny!" Mihirmah 
cried. 

"It is, when you view it from a palace, 
with hordes of slaves to wait on you, and 
fairylike garments to adorn you ; but it is not 
funny when you walk side by side with stern 
reality. But now for yourself. Out with it! 
Are you married?" 

Mihirmah's merry face clouded. She was 
no longer the gay and reckless girl of a mo- 
ment before. 

36 



"Yes, little heart, I am,'' she said. 

I knew from her tone that there was sorrow 
in connection with it. *^No children?" I 
asked. ''No boys?" 

*'0h, yes, one boy, one girl. You will see 
them to-morrow — perfect beauties ! " And 
in her maternal pride her face was happy 
again. 

She did not volunteer more, and there 
was no use my trying to get the story bit by 
bit. I knew Turkish women too well. When 
the time should come to tell me, there would 
be no necessity for questions. It would be 
told simply and frankly, as only Turkish 
women can talk. 

Two nights later I heard it. All day long 
Mihirmah was restless. Upon her babies and 
upon me she lavished an immense amount of 
caresses. She proposed various excursions; 
yet no sooner did we decide upon one than 
the plan was given up and another con- 
sidered. The whole household was affected 
by her mood. There was no singing among 

37 



the slaves, no chattering, no laughter. Even 
the children sat upon the rug at their mother's 
feet and played quietly. The boy, a dear little 
fellow, would get up often, throw his arms 
around his mother, and lisp: ^'Mudder, Ali 
Bey, the little, loves his mudder — loves 
her ever so big." Mihirmah would take the 
child in her arms, kiss him wildly ; then hold 
him away from her, looking into his eyes, 
and sigh deeply as she put him back on the 
floor. 

At night, as we sat together by the latticed 
windows and inhaled the sea air mingled 
with the perfume of flowers, Mihirmah 
said : — 

''Little thunder-storm, when do you think 
we earn the right to live?" 

"I don't know. I never thought about it. 
When do you think we do?" 

''When we conceive a great thought, form 
a great wish, and perform a good act. I have 
had the first two, but I never had the last — 
though Allah gave me the chance once." 

38 



Under her breath she added: ''Will he ever 
give me the chance again?'' 

She was silent for several minutes after 
this. I waited for her to speak. 

*'Do you remember Ali Machmet Bey?'^ 
she asked me presently. 

*' Indeed I do. Don't you know how you 
and I used to trot after him and call him our 
prophet and our patissah .^" 

''You cared for him, did you not, little 
mountain-spring? But you left Turkey and 
forgot him. I left Constantinople, too, but 
never, never forgot him. How could I? He 
was the best and most generous boy of all 
our playfellows." 

"Yes," I assented, "and warm-hearted and 
strong-headed, quick to take offense, and 
quick to forgive and apologize." 

As I spoke a scene of my childhood came 
back to me. It was in a high marble hall, 
with a cistern at one side. Ali Machmet 
came to the chain of the bucket and held it. 
I came afterward and insisted that I must 

39 



draw water first. We fought, and Ali Mach- 
met struck me on the head with the chain. 
No sooner, however, had the chain landed on 
my stubborn head than he came to me, took 
from his pockets all he had, — a penknife, a 
wooden soldier, and five piastres, — and even 
now I can hear the litde boy say: "Take 
any of these, only say that you forgive me." 

I, the greedy litde girl, said : *'I want all of 
them if I am to forgive you.'' 

"Take them!" he answered. "Only let 
me sleep one more night with my soldier, — 
I will explain to him why he must go, — 
won't you, thunder-storm ? " I gave him back 
the soldier and the knife, and told him he 
might draw the water first from the cistern; 
for his wistful tone when he spoke of his sol- 
dier melted my heart; but the five piastres 
became common property, and we feasted on 
them that afternoon. 

As I was lost in my reminiscences, Mihir- 
mah put her hand on mine. What are you 
thinking about, dear one?" 
40 



"About Ali Machmet," I answered. 

''It is about him I am going to tell you. 
His image never left my heart, and when his 
mother chose me to be his wife I went to him 
as happy as one is in dreamland. My little 
boy was born in less than a year, and my 
little daughter a year later. She was only a 
few months old when I heard my mother-in- 
law — she is dead now, and may Allah for- 
give her ! — tell to another woman how she 
made our match. She did not know that I 
was listening, and I listened because I ex- 
pected her to say that my lord had loved me 
from childhood. Instead she said that he had 
not wished to marry and had repeatedly 
refused, and that only when she had begged 
on her knees that she should be permitted to 
hold his baby before she died, had he given 
in — he was her only child, you know. When 
I was proposed to him, he had answered: 
* Oh, she will do as well as any other.' 

"After I heard these words I ran into the 
garden. I shrieked, I tore my hair. I became 

41 



ill, and begged Allah to take me to him ; but 
he meant that I should live. When I became 
well again, I could not look at Ali Machmet, 
— I could not bear to hear him speak, — 
so I left him and came here to my grand- 
parents, with my babies and a few of my 
slaves. I told my grandmother that I had left 
my husband for the present. He came to see 
me, but I refused to see him. Then his 
mother was taken ill and died, but this did 
not bring about any change between us. Ali 
Machmet saw my grandmother and arranged 
things with her very liberally indeed; not 
once did he complain. 

^'You see, little blossom, he did not care 
for me. He came constantly to see the chil- 
dren; for he loved them dearly. My heart 
was full of madness, and I even hated my 
children because he loved them. Sometimes 
I used to think that I should like to kill them 
and throw their corpses at him and say: 
' You took me so that I might give children to 
your mother. There are the children ! I took 
42 



their breath away because it was mine.' I 
came very near doing it, too, for I know now 
that I had a kind of madness. 

''Then a desire to make him jealous, to 
torture him in some way, came upon me; and 
without any more thought I made one of my 
faithful slaves write him an anonymous letter 
telling him that I had a lover. But I ought to 
have known better; for Ali Machmet is not 
the kind of man to believe anonymous letters. 

''Finally, in despair, I wrote a love-letter, 
such a one as I could write only to Ali Mach- 
met himself, with a foreign name on top, 
signed it with my name, and sent it to my 
husband. In two days he was here with the 
letter. I was in my room with the children. 
He did not have them taken out. He came 
and sat near me, took the little girl in his lap, 
and put the boy in mine. Then he took from 
his portfolio the letter, gave it to me, and 
waited. I read the letter, and did not say any- 
thing. He asked me quietly if I had written it. 

"I nodded my head. 

43 



^''To whom did you write it?' he asked. 

'^'To you, since you have it/ I said." 
Mihirmah's eyes filled with tears, and a sob 
came to her throat. 

''Dear little mountain-spring, I told him 
just the truth and nothing else; but his eyes 
were full of anger, and I knew he could kill 
me if he did not master himself. 

'''Mihirmah,' he said, 'I want you to tell 
me where I can find this man.' 

''How could I tell him, since there was no 
such man? I had only wanted to make him 
jealous and bring him to me. I told him that 
there was no such man. 

"He took my hands and put the one on the 
head of my boy and the other on that of my 
girl. 'For their sake!' he said. 

"The old jealousy of mine came back to 
me fiercer than ever. I jumped up, and in 
doing so threw the boy to the floor, and he 
began to cry. Ali Machmet picked up the 
child and soothed it for a while. Then he put 
him down and came over to me. 
44 



*'*Mihirmah/ he said very quietly, 'if you 
don't want to live with me you need not, but 
you must not be a wicked woman. I am go- 
ing away now. In a week you must write me 
this man's name.' How could I? There was 
no such name." 

''But, my beautiful Mihirmah," I ex- 
claimed, "why didn't you write him the 
truth?" 

"Yes," she said quietly, "it was the one 
chance Allah gave me to perform a great, 
good act and earn the right to live ; but I did 
not; and in ten days I was a divorced woman. 
He cast me off as he would a garment that 
had served its purpose. I had given him a 
boy, and I was good for nothing more. This 
thought tortured my heart enough to kill it 
and turn it to ashes; but my humiliation, and 
this new proof that he did not care for me, 
did not cure me of loving him." 

Mihirmah took my hands and almost 
crushed them between hers. ' ' Little blossom, 
I love him now more than I ever did before, 

45 



and there are days, like to-day, when every 
bit of life in me cries out for him. I shall go 
mad for love of a man who puts me out of his 
life as easily as one brushes away a speck of 
dust. But he has been generous in all of his 
settlements. He even left me my children, on 
the condition that I was to remain a good 
woman, and that he should take the little girl 
away when I was unworthy of her. 

''Two days after he divorced me he took 
the eunuchs away. You understand, blos- 
som, what that means? I was no longer a 
wife — no one cared for me any more. I 
could take my choice, and be good or bad. I 
fought myself for months after this to keep 
my hands from doing violence to my body. 
Then the old people were taken ill, first the 
one and then the other, and both died. Car- 
ing for them occupied my mind for a year." 

"Is Ali Machmet married again?" I 
asked. 

''Oh, no, dear one! He does not care for 
women. His heart is in the army. He has 
46 



only one wish, and that is to get the ear of the 
Sultan and tell him all that our army needs 
to be powerful again. For years now he has 
been waiting and hoping; but his superiors 
are men of the old regime, they do not be- 
lieve in new guns and new methods. They 
prevent him every time from having an inter- 
view with our Calif." 

**How long is it since he divorced you?" I 
asked. 

"Two long years, dear one, and I have 
never seen him since. He sends for the chil- 
dren once a week, and keeps them a day and 
a night with him. That is why you did not 
see them the first night you came. They were 
with him. When they come back they talk 
incessantly of him to me, and though every 
word they say is a new burn to the old wound, 
I make them say it over and over again, to be 
tortured the more." 

Mihirmah put her head in my lap and 
cried for hours. It was almost daybreak be- 
fore I managed to soothe her and put her to 

47 



sleep. The next morning she was ill and had 
to stay in bed, but the morning following she 
was herself again, and begged me to forgive 
her for letting her sorrow interfere with my 
pleasure. 

I don't know when I have ever met with 
more real unhappiness than hers. It was not 
so much the open outburst as the following 
days of suppressed suffering that impressed 
me. I began to wonder if I could not possibly 
help her — to wonder what the result would 
be if I went to Stamboul to Ali Machmet's 
house and told him every word his wife had 
told me. One minute I thought it a very 
simple and perfect plan; the next I was not 
so sure. 

Thus several days passed, when sud- 
denly little Ali fell ill. 

I went to his room to see him. He had 
quite a high temperature. '*Do you think it 
can be the measles?'' I asked his mother. 

She was kneeling beside the child's couch, 
her cool cheek resting against his hot one. 

48 



J})lSJ^ 



" No, the little villain has been eating green 
fruit, he tells me." 

I was dejected at the answer. A plan had 
come to me which the measles would help. 
Yet I would not give up so easily. I seized 
Mihirmah's hand and dragged her away 
from the bed. 

**Come with me," I said breathlessly. In 
the next room I faced her. *' Mihirmah, little 
Ali may be dangerously ill. Send for your 
husband. Telegraph him, and he will be here 
to-day or to-morrow." 

*'But, my lovely jasmine," Mihirmah pro- 
tested, rather bewildered, ''little Ali is not 
ill enough to send for his father. He will be 
all right in a day or two. It is his little stom- 
ach, that's all." 

''But, my darling Mihirmah," I cried, 
more excited, "don't you see that it does not 
matter how sick the child really is." 

She shook her head. "I have shammed to 
my husband once, and I am a divorced wo- 
man. I will not sham again." 

49 



"Mihirmah, has little Ali ever been sick 
before?'' I asked. 

"No, he never has. He is his father in 
looks and in health." 

"Well, then, don't you see that Allah is 
giving you another chance? Send for Ali 
Machmet; if nothing comes of it you will at 
least have seen him." 

There we stood : I, the Greek, with the in- 
stinct of the merchant, wishing to manufac- 
ture an opportunity; she, the Oriental fatalist, 
willing to suffer the will of Allah, but not to 
avail herself of conditions that needed manip- 
ulating. But I had made up my mind that 
on this day the Greek should win — and I 
did. 

It took time, however, and the telegram 
was sent so late that there was not time for 
Ali Machmet to come that day. Mihirmah, 
when the telegram was sent, retired to her 
room and prayed for hours to Allah. I sat by 
the child. I, too, was praying to my God; 
but I rather think that our prayers were as 
SO 



different as the languages they were ad- 
dressed in; for I was praying that little Ali 
might at least have the measles. 

That night Mihirmah slept little. Like a 
white spirit she roamed all over the house, 
and about the garden. 

The morning came, a very lovely one, 
unruffled by the storm that was going on in 
our hearts. I don't know how far Mihirmah's 
prayers had travelled toward Allah, but mine, 
thanks to the proverb, ^^Aide-toi et Dieu 
faidera,^^ were being answered; for I had 
seen personally to little Ali's stomach, and. 
my simple measures were acting efficaciously. 

The first afternoon train brought Ali 
Machmet. By that time I had succeeded in 
convincing Mihirmah that the boy really 
had all the symptoms of measles. I had be- 
come desperate; for she had told me that as 
soon as her husband arrived she would throw 
herself at his feet and confess her ruse to him. 

As soon as I saw Ali Machmet coming on 
horseback, I rushed to the child and took off 

SI 



him the ten or twelve coverlets which I had 
on him, to accentuate his fever. Then, al- 
most by force, I dragged the mother to the 
bedside, there to await the coming of her 
husband ; and I myself, too excited to do any- 
thing but stand about in the garden and tear 
my handkerchief to pieces, waited the result 
of the meeting. 

Ali Machmet had brought a doctor with 
him, who stayed with the child some time. 
Then the doctor went away, and Ali Mach- 
met and Mihirmah were alone by the child's 
bed. When a slave came and told me that 
the master had retired to the pavilion we had 
prepared for him in the garden, I went into 
the sick-room. Mihirmah, white as a sheet, 
sat staring at the sleeping child. 

"What did the doctor say?" I asked. 

Mihirmah looked at me as if she did not 
know who I was, at first; then she answered 
that the doctor had said the child did not 
have the measles, although the vomiting was 
a bad sign. 
52 



I chuckled inwardly, knowing that were 
I to tell Mihirmah what had caused the 
vomiting there would be trouble for the 
Greek infidel. 

''What did Ali Machmet say to you?" I 
asked. 

Mihirmah broke down completely at my 
words. It was like a fierce rain on a hot sum- 
mer's day. She cried in torrents, and that 
was all I was destined to know, for the door 
opened and Ali Machmet came in. She did 
not see him, but I did, and rearranged my 
batteries a little, but not too much, for I was 
as afraid as ever of Mihirmah's tongue. 

He came near, and put his hand on her 
head. She was startled and turned her tear- 
stained face toward him. There are tears and 
tears — ugly tears and pretty tears, tears that 
annoy and those that attract; it all depends 
on the attitude of the onlooker. I suppose 
Mihirmah's tears were very pretty to her 
former husband, for he was very gentle and 
kind to her. 

53 



"And now, Mihirmah, you had better go 
to your room and rest a little," he said to her, 
after he had soothed her. 

She obeyed him instantly, and I was left 
alone with him. I knew he was very far from 
guessing who I was. In a voice as much like 
a child's as I could make it, I said: — 

"Take them, only let me sleep one more 
night with my soldier, — I will explain to 
him why he must go, — won't you, thunder- 
storm?" 

Then I laughed and gave him my hand, 
and it did me good to see how glad he was to 
see me. We chatted for a half-hour or so, and 
then the slave came to say that dinner was 
ready. 

" Of course you will eat with us, Ali Mach- 
met?" I said. I saw protest written all over 
him. "If you do not, you are very cruel, be- 
cause it is my only chance to see you." 

When I had him caught, I hurried to 
Mihirmah's room. 

"Mihirmah, my dear one, there are two 
54 



roads to men's hearts, according to an old 
foolish Greek proverb; through their stom- 
achs, with good food, and through their eyes, 
with good looks. You are, and you must 
look, pretty." 

I found I did not have to urge her to this, 
and it was a terribly attractive Mihirmah, 
with her pale face and tremulous lips, who 
came into the dining-room. Our meal was a 
happy one. I was happy because I felt that 
things were going well. I knew that Mihir- 
mah must be happy, in a bitter and sweet 
way, in her husband's presence; and who can 
tell, but that he was happy, too ? — at any 
rate, he did not look as if he disliked it. 

We finished eating the twenty-odd dishes 
that were served us, and had come to the fruit, 
which is the best part of a Turkish meal, 
as the serving force retires and the conversa- 
tion takes a more intimate tone and lingers on 
sometimes for an hour. All was going well 
when my bad angel whispered to me to ask 
Ali Machmet about his work and the army. 

55 



^J^hoj-^ 



"The little fellow will never know what his 
illness has cost his father/' he said in a sad 
voice. ^^For years now I have been trying to 
reach our Calif, but forces stronger than my 
own always kept me out of his sight. To-day, 
at last, I was going to have my interview. The 
palace-physician had consented to smuggle 
me in to him, and all the chances were favor- 
able. Now the opportunity is lost, and I may 
never have another." 

There was a noise of broken dishes, of a 
chair overturning, and Mihirmah was at the 
feet of her husband. I felt that all my schem- 
ing had been in vain. 

"My lord, master of my life and my 
death," Mihirmah was waihng, "/ have ru- 
ined your chance. I brought you here when 
perhaps I ought to have waited." 

I jumped to my feet, and ran to her. 
"Listen, Mihirmah! Let me take Ali Mach- 
met to the pavilion and have a talk with him. 
I promise I will tell him everything." 

"No, little thunder-storm," she said, "you 

56 



go to the garden. I must speak — I must 
suffer alone." 

Ali Machmet had risen and was trying to 
Hft his wife from her kneeh'ng position. He 
looked, bewildered, from one to the other 
of us. 

I tried to speak to him; but Mihirmah 
first implored, then commanded me to go to 
the garden and leave her alone with him. I 
went, but not to the garden. I sat at the head 
of the stairs, to keep the slaves away if they 
should appear, and to be at hand if Mihirmah 
should need me. 

Opposite the stairs was a long window, 
and through the upper part of it, which was 
not latticed, I could see the sky. My tongue 
mechanically was praying : '^ Oh ! Allah, help 
her!" I repeated it over and over. A shoot- 
ing star fell, and my prayer caught it. My 
superstitious soul leaped. *^My prayer 
caught the shooting star," I found myself 
saying, and then I kept on praying. 

It seemed years that I sat on those stairs — 

57 



-ZJULo>^ 



till I could not stand it any longer. Making 
the sign of the cross three times over my 
heart, I crept toward the fatal room. I 
opened the door ever so little and peeped in ; 
then quietly I drew back and went out into 
the garden. 

** Remember, lady," I apostrophized my- 
self, while I tried hard to keep the dry sobs 
from my throat, '^you have done a great act, 
and according to Mihirmah you have earned 
the right to live." 

Then I looked up at the friendly sky and 
laughed, while tears at last came streaming 
down; for what I had seen in the closed room 
was what, according to the Orientals, causes 
Allah to smile, and the flowers to grow more 
beautiful, and the birds to sing their sweetest 
song: for in the closed room above, Mihir- 
mah's head was nestling on her husband's 
heart, and Ali Machmet's face was radiant 
as that of a lover. 



Ill 

DJIMLAH, THE THINKER, SELIM 
PASHA'S FOURTH WIFE 

I LOOKED forward to my third visit with 
even greater anticipation than to the other 
two : and, indeed, it promised to be all a stu- 
dent of Turkish customs could ask for. The 
friend I was to visit was a girl I had known 
better than any other Osmanli girl. I was to 
find her the mother of three children, and 
the fourth wife of one of the most powerful 
pashas in the Sultan's entourage, — a man 
much older than herself, to whom her family 
had given her in marriage without a by- 
your-Ieave. I was tremendously interested 
to see how she had accepted the situation. 

Djimlah, moreover, had a vigorous and 
original mind, which had attracted me in our 
youth — although as she grew up and began 
to think of love, her thoughts were frightful. 

59 



Once she said to me : ' ' Love has nothing to do 
with one's thoughts or one's aspirations. It is 
merely a manifestation of the senses. The 
intensity of one's love depends on one's 
physical condition. When a man loves a 
woman he does not care whether she is good 
or bad, whether she will be a friend and com- 
panion to him or not. He simply wants that 
woman, and will do all he can to get her. As 
for the woman, she obeys her instincts as 
blindly as an animal.'* 

''How about her soul?" I asked. 

She laughed scornfully. ''You little petal 
of a flower, woman has no soul." 

"Yes, that is what you Turks say," I 
cried. "But we do not believe in that doc- 
trine. Woman has a soul." 

"No, she hasn't," Djimlah contradicted; 
"she is all emotions and senses." 

If an ugly girl had spoken as Djimlah 

spoke, it would have been very repulsive; 

but the radiant loveliness of the girl could not 

fail to modify the impression made by her 

60 



,za» 



words. While speaking, she would clasp her 
hands above her head, the sleeves falling 
away from her white arms; she would half 
close her eyes, in a way that made the light 
shining through them softer; and her lips 
forming her words were fresh and crimson, 
like a rose with the dew on it. The Greek in 
me, looking at her, forgave her words — one 
of the judges who liberated the accused 
Phryne, because she was so beautiful, may 
have been an ancestor of mine. And she 
prefaced all her blighting remarks with such 
endearments as *' little crest of the wave," 
*' little mountain brook," or ''flower of the 
almond tree." It was as if I were being taken 
to a slaughter-house through a rose-con- 
servatory. 

Foreigners she hated intensely, and to be 
the wife of a foreigner was to her the most 
miserable existence imaginable. 

One day, when she was telling me that 
''love was a necessity of the body, like food 
and air, and that when the senses awoke 

6i 



and asked their due, they ought to get it," 
I asked : — 

''Djimlah, since love is nothing but the 
rightful demand of sense, and since you be- 
lieve in its gratification, while at the same 
time you hate foreigners so tremendously, 
what should you do if you fell in love with a 
foreigner?" 

'' Oh ! I should let him love me for a while, 
and then have him killed." 

She said this without the slightest tremor 
in her voice, without the faintest added pink 
mounting her cheeks. What a sinner she 
would have made, had she been a European 
woman ! How many souls of men she would 
have sent to eternal damnation with a slight 
shrug of her superb shoulders! 

When she had written to me in her fault- 
less French, asking me to visit her, I was both 
pleased and surprised; for I knew her hus- 
band's household to be one of the very ortho- 
dox, into which foreigners were almost never 
allowed to penetrate. During my girlhood, 
62 



although I had been in many haremliks, I 
had never happened to be in one where more 
than one wife was living, and they had all 
been somewhat Europeanized. Selim Pasha's 
was the first old-fashioned harem which was 
opening its doors to me. 

It was Djimlah herself who called for me 
in her brougham. A tall, powerful eunuch 
opened the door of her carriage, and when 
I was in it, jumped up to his seat beside the 
coachman, and we were off. Inside was 
Djimlah, with two slaves. When she took 
me in her arms and kissed me, I was envel- 
oped in an atmosphere of subtle perfume and 
rich luxury. I thought how a French writer 
would have loved to describe her. Her im- 
maculate yashmak, transparently gauzy, 
let me see her beauty, resplendent, yet some- 
how softer than I remembered it. She had 
always been of the tall, self-reliant type : now 
she looked still more sure of herself, invested 
as she was with the name of a powerful pasha. 

In our girlhood we had been on the same 

63 



social footing; but with the turning of the 
wheel of fortune I had gone under and had 
become a breadwinner — she had been car- 
ried up to the top. The present meeting was 
the first for six years. 

It is difficult to talk in a carriage anywhere, 
but in Constantinople it is impossible. Roll- 
ing over the miserable pavement makes a 
noise worthy of the dogs. Djimlah and I, 
after our first embrace, lay back against the 
cushions and closed our eyes, she holding 
my hand in hers. Once, when the carriage 
stopped for a minute, she opened her eyes 
and looking long and earnestly at me, said, 
with delightful Oriental frankness : — 

" You have changed, little flower. America 
has robbed you of your youth. I must keep 
you here and help you to get it back." 

When we arrived at her palace, she took 
me directly to my room, where a pretty slave 
was waiting for me. 

*^This is your room," she said, and, point- 
ing to the slave, "she is yours also." She 

64 



opened a large cupboard whose shelves were 
filled with clothes: ''And here is all you will 
need while you stay with us." To the slave 
she added : — 

'* Kondje, this is your mistress. If she does 
not look any better when she leaves than she 
does now, let me never see your face again. 
If she improves, you can ask me anything 
you like." Drawing the slave to her and 
petting her, she went on, pointing to me as 
if I were an inanimate object: ''Kondje, 
she used to be very pretty — look at her 
now ! Could you believe that she is younger 
than I?" 

The slave shook her head, and looked me 
up and down compassionately. 

I burst out laughing. "Really, Djimlah, 
you must learn to spare my feelings I have 
just come from America, where we don't tell 
the truth like that." 

"Nasty country, anyhow!" she observed. 

The slave came to me and threw her arms 
around me. "Young Hanoum, is it a dis- 

65 



-JJUU 



appointment in love?" she asked sympa- 
thetically. 

"Nonsense!" Djimlah interjected, ''Fool- 
ishness! that's the reason. Instead of let- 
ting a good strong man take care of her, 
she is doing it for herself — disgracing Allah 
and his sons. Now good-by, and rest all you 
can." 

Kondje took her task to heart. She bathed 
and massaged me, as if I were to be made 
over. Then she brought out several garments, 
and after discarding them all as not befitting 
my beauty, — or to be more accurate, my 
lack of it, — she at last satisfied herself from 
a fresh armful from the closet. 

After I had rested, I went down to the 
garden, where Djimlah presented me to the 
other three wives of Selim Pasha, their 
ladies-in-waiting, and a few guests. We were 
twenty-seven in all, and we reclined under a 
canopy of flowers, and waited for the coming 
sunset. A high wall hid us from the outside 
world, and a pergola, covered with pink and 
66 



purple wistaria, protected us from any mas- 
culine eyes which might chance to look over 
from the side of the palace reserved for men. 
I took my seat by Djimlah, on a lot of cush- 
ions. 

Presently one of the women reached up a 
bare arm, plucked a bunch of wistaria, and 
threw it at another woman. Simultaneously 
several bare arms went up, and pink and 
purple wistaria went flying right and left, so 
that in a few minutes the ground and the 
Turkish rugs on which we were reclining 
were covered with flowers. 

^* Give us some music, beautiful ones," said 
the first wife, who was the head of the house- 
hold, and who was addressed as Validd 
Hanoum. 

Some of the young slaves picked up their 
zithers, and the music of the East charmed 
our ears for a few minutes. 

''See now, see how fast he is travelling!" 
exclaimed Djimlah, pointing to the sun. 
"He is getting impatient to reach his home 

67 



and throw his arms around his women-folk 
and rest from the day's labor." 

She turned to me. **Do you remember, 
little bride of the river, how you and I used 
to run to catch the sun when we were small ? 
And do you remember how once we were so 
engrossed with him that we fell into the 
Propontis ? " 

"Yes, I do remember," I answered; *'how 
very happy we were then, Djimlah!" 

"Why 'then'?" inquired the young wo- 
man. " Are we not happy now ? Are you not, 
Allah's little ray?" 

"Are you?" I questioned. 

"Of course I am," the young wife an- 
swered, clasping her youngest child to her 
bosom. "I am even more happy now with 
my babies and my lord." Then she added, 
as if the thought had just come to her, "You 
have not taken a master to your heart, dear 
one — why ? You remember how we used to 
plan about our husbands, and you always 
said you would marry a prince ever so great 
68 



and powerful. I have my husband; where 
is yours, little blossom?" 

*'I have searched all Europe," I replied, 
'* and in despair I have crossed the ocean and 
gone to America. He is quite elusive; he 
evades me everywhere." 

"Does it make you sad, Allah's little 
cloud?" said the Valide Hanoum, leaning 
over and running her fingers over my hair. 

"Look! look at him now!" cried another, 
pointing to the sun. "He is kissing the hills 
good-by. Look, how he makes them blush; 
how pink they grow in their love for him! 
In their joy now they will sing in colors." 

"Mashallah! mashallah!" exclaimed sev- 
eral women, kissing their fingers to the de- 
parting sun. From outside the walls a shep- 
herd was singing the sunset song as he walked 
behind his sheep. The slaves, this time of 
their own accord, were softly singing, 
" Happy, happy we, dwellers of this beautiful 
land!" 

These women were all intoxicated with the 

69 



-JJUU^O 



beauty of nature before them. Nowhere 
have I seen such pure enjoyment of life. 
Nothing was bothering them. They had no 
other career except that of being beautiful 
and happy. 

The color of the sky was spreading, taking 
in the Byzantine wall, the Golden Horn, and 
the slender minarets silhouetted from afar; 
and the East little by little crept again into 
my blood, and I let myself go and be happy in 
mere existence. 

After sunset the Valide Hanoum gave the 
signal of departure, and at once wives, chil- 
dren, guests, and slaves rose to their feet. 
Two eunuchs carried the rugs and pillows, 
while the others carried the young children. 
There were eight of these black cerberi — 
two for each wife. As we descended from the 
hill the dwelling presented itself in full view. 
It was a huge, ugly wooden structure of 
ninety rooms, looking more like a factory 
than a rich residence. Of the ninety rooms 
only twenty were given over to the master 
70 



and his retinue; the rest belonged to the 
women. 

The Validd Hanoum, in her position as 
first wife, occupied the first floor, and had 
more rooms assigned to her than any other 
wife. Djimlah, my friend, as fourth wife, 
was destined to see the world from the top 
of the house; and she had only fourteen 
rooms for herself. There was but one bath- 
house, and that belonged to the Valide 
Hanoum; but all the ladies took their hour- 
long ablutions there. On each floor there 
was a connecting passage to the other side of 
the house, through which the master could 
visit each wife without being seen by the 
others. 

As I said before, this household was a very 
strict one, and the women of the house obeyed 
all the laws of their creed, and followed the 
prescribed customs rigorously. Their nails 
were profusely dyed, and their indoor robes 
were one-piece garments of very costly ma- 
terials. Their hair was done up in braids, 

71 



while gauzy pieces of silk, cut bias, were ar- 
ranged round their heads. Saluting with 
the graceful temena — touching the floor, the 
knees, the heart, the lips, and the forehead — 
was customary, on every occasion; and strict 
attention was given to precedence. 

The Valide Hanoum sat at the head of the 
table, the second wife sitting at the foot. 
The third wife sat at the right of the first, and 
the fourth at the right of the second. On 
no occasion were these places changed. The 
first wife was served first, and it was she who 
gave the signal for conversation. Also per- 
mission for inviting guests or going out to 
pay visits was granted or refused by the 
Valide. 

As far as I could judge, there was no jeal- 
ousy between the wives. The others looked 
upon the Valide as a mother, though she was 
little older than the second and third wife. 
I was given to understand that the harmony 
of the household depended absolutely on the 
character of the first wife. As the household 

^2 



was very Oriental, the only chairs to be seen 
were in the dining-room. There were several 
reception rooms, one of which was supposed 
to be furnished in European fashion. It was 
as European as the Oriental rooms in Amer- 
ica are Oriental. 

In the sixty-five rooms assigned to women 
there was not a room that could be called a 
bedroom, that is, that had the appearance of 
being given over to that use. Instead, there 
were many rooms bare of furniture except 
for rugs and pillows and one or two low 
tables inlaid with mother-of-pearl. These 
rooms had beautiful damask hangings at the 
windows, and a low platform with two steps 
leading up to it, on one side of the room. On 
this platform was a silken rug, and baskets 
or vases of flowers. Had one had the curios- 
ity to open the large cupboards in these 
rooms, one would have found all the bed- 
clothes neatly folded away. The Turks never 
use hard mattresses, like ours, but several 
well-kept soft ones, made of cotton. From 

73 



the closets the bedclothes were taken at night 
and arranged on the low platforms. This 
mode of living, I suppose, is a remnant of 
their former nomadic habits. 

On the first night of my arrival, while I 
was lying on my platform, thinking over my 
day's experience, the door of my room opened 
softly to let Djimlah pass. I was certain that 
while she sat in my room a eunuch was 
crouching at my door. She was ready for the 
night — her hair done up in that queer Orien- 
tal fashion becoming only to Eastern women. 
It was divided in two and parted in the mid- 
dle; each division again subdivided in two, 
and each braided loosely. Then the ends of 
the two front braids were tied up by a wide, 
soft piece of silk, which hung loose in the 
back and formed a kind of background for 
the face. Djimlah's headdress was of pale 
blue, which brought out the color of her deep 
blue eyes. As she sat at the foot of my plat- 
form a lovely perfume of roses emanated 
from her. 

74 



"Sun-ray," I said to her, *'your approach 
signals roses." 

**Yes, blossom of the almond tree," was 
her reply. "I have had my rose-bath. You 
shall have yours presently. But before 
Kondje comes, let us make use of the flying 
time — not so?" Djimlah always spoke 
Turkish, to the consternation of my poor 
ears, which had been out of training for 
years. Though she spoke French and Eng- 
lish perfectly, she seldom made use of them. 
She abhorred anything foreign to Mahome- 
tanism, her strong affection for me being her 
only exception. 

"Little river," she said bluntly, as is the 
Turkish custom, *^I hate to think of you liv- 
ing away in that half-civilized country of 
America. You really must stay here and be 
married." 

"Do you think, Djimlah, my dear," I 
asked, matching her own frankness, "that I 
should be happy with a quarter of a hus- 
band?" 

75 



-ZJULo 



She laughed till the tears came to her eyes. 

'*I have just been paying a visit to Nas- 
sarah and Tsakran," I went on; ''but Tsak- 
ran is a little kitten, and I don't think it mat- 
ters to her whether she is the first or second 
wife; and Nassarah, for the sake of the boys, 
does not mind sharing her husband." 

''There is where you make a mistake, my 
little one," Djimlah said. "You never share 
your husband. What a man gives to one 
woman he never gives to another. What he is 
to his first wife he never is to his second or 
third. It always amuses me how slow you 
European women are to understand men. 
You put up with the greatest outrages in 
order to remain the only wives. A man is not 
like a woman, who is essentially a mother. 
A man by nature is polygamous. His nature 
must expand : sometimes it is more than one 
woman that he must love; sometimes he gives 
himself over to state matters; sometimes it is 
a career or a profession that he needs. But 
whatever he does, the love of one woman is 

76 



not and cannot be enough to occupy him. 
When a man has a nature to love more 
than one woman, what happens ? According 
to our sacred laws he may marry them. They 
are loved and honored by him, and the chil- 
dren of this second or third love are his chil- 
dren, and share his name as they share his 
property. But what happens in your coun- 
tries and with your habits? A man repudi- 
ates his first wife, generally with a great deal 
of scandal, for a second. He gives her little 
money, and her children lose their father's 
companionship. If the man cannot divorce 
his wife, he leads her the life of a dog, and 
lives a libertine himself. Or if he loves an- 
other woman, and she loves him, and they 
live together, the woman carries a burden of 
shame, and the children born out of their 
great love are outcasts." 

As Djimlah spoke of our system her blue 
eyes widened, her long earrings shook, and 
disgust was painted on her beautiful features. 
I chuckled inwardly, remembering some lec- 

77 



tures I had heard in America in which the 
women of the harem were spoken of as most 
miserable beings, and in which our duty was 
pointed out to us to work toward their deliv- 
erance. 

*^Djimlah," I said, ^^you speak of course 
from your experience, as perhaps the most 
loved of the wives. Suppose to-morrow your 
husband were to cast you aside and bring 
into the household a younger and possibly a 
handsomer wife — what then?" 

Djimlah's pretty face lighted up with a 
smile. ^^You dear, dear yavroum, you will 
never understand. If my husband has ten 
more wives, it does not alter my position. I 
shall be his Djimlah then as always. He will 
still love me for myself, for the love I have for 
him, and for the children I have given him." 

''But, Djimlah, wouldn't that love be 
greater if he loved only you, and shared it 
with no one else ? If you were the only affec- 
tion in his life?" 

Djimlah caressed my hand. ''My little 

78 



one, don't make this mistake in life. If you 
were the most intelligent woman in the 
world, the most entertaining, the most bril- 
liant, the most beautiful, you could never be 
everything to your husband. That is the way 
Allah has made them; that is the way all of 
them are — and those that are not are good 
for nothing." 

^^Djimlah," I said at last, perceiving that 
she would never see my point of view, ''how 
about the women? Don't they, too, need 
more than one in their lives?'' 

Djimlah smiled her wise smile again. 
*' Yavroum, women are not like men. Wo- 
men, good women, natural women, are mo- 
thers above all. Their hearts are filled the 
moment they become mothers. All their ef- 
fort, their ambition, their love, settles on the 
head of the child." 

Just then Kondje came in, carrying a small 
basket full of rose-petals. She spoke in low 
tones to the young wife, who blushed furi- 
ously, and shyly bade me good-night. 

79 



"Honored Hanoum/' the young girl said 
to me, "may I be so blessed as to have the 
pleasure of giving you your bath of roses?" 

"You may," I answered, "if you will call 
me anything else except ' Honored Hanoum.' 
I can stand being the bride of the brook and 
the cloud of the sky, but I draw the line at 
being 'Honored.' It makes me feel old and 
venerable. And, besides, you know I have 
not yet a husband, so I can't be 'Honored,' 
anyway." 

Kondje, giggling, took down my hair, 
filled it with rose-petals, and rubbed them 
into the hair and scalp. Afterwards she did 
the same to my body, so that in half an hour 
I and the room were filled with the odor 
of roses, and I went to sleep dreaming of 
flowers. 

The following days revealed to me a 
Djimlah so foreign to her former self as to be 
an entirely new person. Even her beauty had 
changed. It was no longer the audacious al- 
lurement of a handsome animal: there was 
80 



calm and repose in it. She was still a woman 
for men to love desperately, but with a higher 
love, if one less maddening than the one she 
would have inspired six years ago. 

One night, as we were sitting on the foot of 
my bed and talking of the past, I said to 
her: — 

*'Djimlah, you have changed morally and 
mentally much more than I have physically, 
though your change has been for the better. 
What has done it?" 

She laughed, and there was a little scorn in 
her rippling young laugh. '^You dear little 
crest of the wave, because you have been 
studying and running around the world, ^ im- 
proving' and 'enlarging' your mind, you 
think that you know something. Why, you 
are ignorant as my baby. You may think you 
are ahead of me, but really you are very far 
behind. The mysteries of the world, which 
you do not even dream of, are mine. You 
will never know them until you love a man 
and are his. Then — " She clasped her 

8i 



hands over her breast, and her face changed 
its expression. It was lovely with a loveliness 
mystic and holy. She leaned towards me, and 
in a voice tremulous and full of melody, spoke 
of her motherhood. ''To be a mother! To 
see the pink rosy mouth of your baby seeking 
life from your very body!" She raised her 
hands. '' O Allah ! how good you are to wo- 
men ! No, little mountain-spring, books will 
never teach you life as a man and a child will. 
Books may feed your mind, but your heart 
will be starved — and human beings must 
live through the heart." 

She had moved me; I believed her; but 
habit was stronger than momentary emotion. 
I was living through my mind, and the next 
minute I asked her : — 

*' You used to say that love was nothing but 
a matter of the senses. Did you find it so ? " 

^'At first, yes — then all at once it changed. 

You become a new person — a good woman 

— when Allah gives you a child. Something 

restful comes over the senses, and they retire 

82 



to the background ; they no longer dominate 
love." 

'*And thus a woman acquires a soul?" I 
inquired flippantly. 

She replied soberly : — 

**A woman has no soul. It may be that if 
she had she would spend her life cultivating 
it, and forget that she had to devote herself to 
those to whom she must give a soul. A wo- 
man is a one-thought creature. Besides, she 
stands for abnegation : to know life, she must 
give, always give, and never ask for anything 
in return. Through giving she grows — 
never through receiving, for then she shrinks." 

This was my Djimlah of six years ago ! She 
had travelled far and fast on the road which 
leads to the divine throne, through her love 
and her mother-love. She was right : books 
do not teach life. 



IV 

VALIDfi HANOUM, THE RESIGNED 
FIRST WIFE 

Three days after my arrival in this Turk- 
ish household, as I was coming out of the 
bathing-house, I was presented with a small 
basket trimmed with gauze and flowers. Ex- 
amining it, I found that it contained an em- 
broidered scarf, and a note from the Valid^ 
requesting me, if willing, to spend the day 
with her. I was delighted — as was Djimlah 
— at this mark of consideration from the 
Valid^. 

The older Hanoum received me at the 
threshold of her apartment with great cere- 
mony. We both salaamed to the ground in 
the proper salutation, the temena, the Validd, 
as the older, beginning first. 

This day I spent with her was one of the 
most interesting of my stay. Very rarely 
84 



have I been so fortunate as to meet a woman 
who had so little of the common feminine pet- 
tiness in her nature. The Valide Hanoum 
was easily queen of her household. She was 
in her thirty-eighth year, but retained much 
of what must once have been her chief claim 
to beauty, her splendid figure. I do not think 
her face could ever have been considered 
beautiful in the East, for their standard is 
very high. In America she would have been 
called a very handsome woman. She was of 
the brunette type, with wonderful brown 
hair, clear complexion, and large gray eyes. 
But her great charm was her personality. 
She directed the conversation in French, as 
she had heard me say the day of my arrival 
that Turkish was bothering me. According 
to Turkish standards she was highly edu- 
cated. She knew Arabic and Persian litera- 
ture well, and, through translations, Greek. 
Though she spoke French fluently, she was 
little acquainted with French writers; and in 
speaking the language she used Oriental 

85 



idioms entirely. She was a great admirer of 
the Greek tragedians, and thought Sophocles 
understood women well — *'as well as a man 
can," she added with a whimsical smile. 

Her breadth of character struck me as so 
unusual that I told her, after I had spent half 
the day with her, that were I to spend a few 
years with her I should become a nice person. 
She liked the compliment very much, and 
said so. Turkish women do not make our 
pretence of disparaging compliments to 
themselves. After a second thought she said 
earnestly : — 

'^ You would not like our life after a while." 

''Why?" I asked. ^ 

She considered for a few minutes. ''For 
many reasons; but uppermost for your blood. 
There is no use going against nature. For 
generations you have led a different life, and 
you could not accept ours." 

"Do you think that it would be impossible 
for European women to come and live with 
you ? " 

86 



.JJ1»JJ^ 



''No, my child, not impossible, for many 
European women have married our men and 
lived happily ; but it would be impossible for 
you. By the way,", — she was smiling now, 
and I knew that it was coming, — ''I shall be 
very happy to see you marry, yavrounty to 
see you happy, for you have become dear to 
me, the little I have seen of you." 

I have learned to expect this refrain of 
''you must marry"; for the Turkish women 
consider marriage the acme of human happi- 
ness. I have come since to think like them, 
but at the time it did annoy me. 

The Valide was very unlike my friend 
Djimlah. What she knew of our life she did 
not condemn. She even considered certain 
ways of ours superior to theirs. The key- 
note of her character was tolerance and kind- 
ness. In the course of the conversation I told 
her of what I had asked Djimlah on my first 
night in the household, and of Djimlah's ways 
of looking at things. 

" Do you agree with her, Valide Hanoum ? " 

87 



MLsj^ 



I asked, burning with the desire to hear her 
views on the subject. 

She looked before her for a few minutes, 
as if she were considering either Djimlah's 
words, or whether she should really take the 
trouble to enlighten my poor brain. After 
a while she drew from her embroidered bag 
some tobacco, took a sheet of tissue paper 
out of a book three inches long by one wide, 
and made herself a cigarette. A slave pre- 
sented her the flame of a match between her 
palms. The Valide lighted her cigarette and 
took two or three puffs, holding it with a pair 
of gold tongs, which hung by a golden chain 
from her waist. 

^^When I married my husband," she said, 
*'I was only fifteen and he was seventeen. 
Within four years two big boys were born to 
us." She raised her eyes to the ceiling and 
thanked Allah. *'I was very happy — terri- 
bly happy." She lost herself for a few min- 
utes in that happiness. ''When my husband 
told me that he wished to take another wife to 
88 



his bosom, my heart was knifed to the mid- 
dle. I cried for days and days. I walked 
about like one in a dream ; but all the while I 
knew that he was right, that the thing had to 
be done. After a while I fought myself down, 
but I could not live with the second wife. 
I told him so. He bought me a beautiful 
house at Scutari, and I moved there with my 
retinue and slaves. Of course my husband 
was to come and see us whenever he liked. 
This arrangement pained him very much; 
and in a few months he came to tell me that 
he had given up the idea of second marriage. 
We lived for another year, when I found out 
that the other woman was dying for love of 
my husband, and that he still longed for her. 
I knew also that my life was no longer the 
same. I made them marry, and I went back 
again to my house at Scutari. I was young, 
I was proud, I was hurt. I did not see why 
my husband should want another wife. Wo- 
men when young don't understand their hus- 
bands very well. Two years passed, a little 

89 



girl was born to them, and they named her 
after me. My husband came to see me very 
often, but I could not feel the same toward 
him. He understood it, and never asked for 
more than I could give him. My child, can 
you believe it, but I was glad, glad that he 
suffered for me — that if I could not make 
him love me, at least I could make him 
suffer. 

*'At the end of two years the mother and 
child came to see me. The child was very deli- 
cate; the mother looked dying. She stayed 
with me for a few days; and when it was 
time to go, she could not go — I could not let 
her. I understood many things then. When 
I told my husband that I was to keep them, 
he fell to my knees and cried like a boy.'' 

She leaned over and took my hand. "You 
never know, yavroum, in what way Allah is 
going to help you to come out of your mean 
self. But he is always watching and waiting 
to give us our chance. He gave me mine and 
I took it, and with it came back the love of 
90 



_ilUL2.^o 



my husband, a newer and younger love, a 
love that was tried. 

''After that Allah marked me for his own, 
and I travelled the road of sorrow. It is a 
long, long road, and you follow it bleeding. 
But at the end Allah shows you his face, and 
peace descends upon you. You understand 
many things that you never understood be- 
fore, and the people become your brothers. 
The way I was to know sorrow was of the 
hardest; my first-born boy was killed before 
my eyes. A few months later a baby girl 
came to me in this world. When I learned to 
love her and she to put her arms around me, 
Allah took her from me. In my motherly 
grief I forgot my husband and my duties 
towards him. That is the way always with 
women. I made his home sad and unlivable. 
It was at that time that the Sultan gave to 
my pasha a beautiful young woman from the 
palace. As our ways are, he had to free her 
and marry her. Though he did so, he has 
never made her his wife, as he did not raise 

91 



her veil after the wedding ceremony. She 
was confided to me to take care of and to pro- 
tect. Her life was not very happy, and I did 
all I could to make it so. After our master 
married Djimlah, she dared even speak to 
him about Aishe; but he was quite stern in 
the old creed, and he did not believe in gift- 
wives. Djimlah, however, gave her her 
second-born boy to love and bring up as her 
very own, and in this way to learn the joy of 
motherhood. The child was taken to her im- 
mediately after its birth. Djimlah had an 
idea that should our master chance to see the 
beauty from the palace with his child, he 
could not but love her. It hurts us all to have 
a young and beautiful woman among us who 
may never know a good man's love. But it 
was no use. Our pasha went to her and saw 
the boy, but the adopted mother still remains 
an official wife only. She is very happy, how- 
ever, with her little gift-son, and he loves her 
more than he does his own mother. Of course 
he does not know that Djimlah really is his 
92 



mother. Ever since that arrangement, though, 
I think there is more happiness all round in 
the house, for Allah has sent his blessing for a 
good act.'' 

I could not help asking how Djimlah crept 
into the household. 

**I gave her to my husband,'' was the quick 
reply, *'and it was the happiest deed of my 
life. You see, yavroum, when I gave myself 
to the luxury of sorrow I could not easily 
come back to the life's joys. The second wife 
was sickly, and the third only official. And 
one night, when it was cold and the wind 
blew, I thought of my master all alone," — 
she spoke as if she were describing one per- 
ishing on a desert island, — ''and I thought 
of my wickedness and cast about in my mind 
for a happier inmate to come to our home. 
Our Djimlah has proved to be Allah's gift to 
us all. My little girl, who was born after 
Djimlah's three sons, and named after her, 
is the joy of my old age." (She was thirty- 
eight, remember.) ''This little girl is Al- 

93 



lah's new proof that he has forgiven me my 
selfish grief." 

*' Vahde Hanoum, in your heart you do not 
approve of men being allowed to have more 
than one wife, do you?" I asked. 

^' But I do, yavroum,''^ she said vehemently; 
''that is why I told you my life, so that you 
could see how much happier we all are if 
things are done as Allah ordained them." 

''But, Valide Hanoum," I persisted, "you 
do not really think that God meant men to 
have more than one wife?" 

"I think that he must, my little one, other- 
wise I do not see why he has created them 
different from us — why they do not have the 
same maternal instincts as we have." 

"Just the same, Valide Hanoum," I said 
with some warmth, "I do not think that God 
meant it; and if so many privileges were not 
allowed to men they would content them- 
selves with one wife." 

Here the Valide showed her tact and her 
sense of humor, for she leaned over, took 
94 



_£JULo 



me to her, kissed me tenderly, and said that 
after all Allah might have meant it while God 
did not. ^^You see, yavroum, things are dif- 
ferent, perhaps, with you than they are with 
us." 

That the Valide did not mind my hetero- 
doxy she manifested by inviting me to spend 
another day with her, when she took me on 
a long drive, on her way to a shrine to pray. 
When she left the mosque she told me gayly 
that she had prayed to Allah for me only that 
day, and that she knew I could not go on now 
without God's blessing, and that a husband 
sooner or later was coming to me. On our 
way back she told me that she was expecting 
her little daughter-in-law, who was not very 
strong, and who needed the care and advice 
of the old. ''She is coming with her mother 
and baby. My son, too, will be with them. 
You must see them," she said proudly, ''for 
there are not two lilies more beautiful in this 
world than my boy and his bride." 



THE GIFT-WIFE FROM THE 
SULTAN'S PALACE 

From what the Vah'de Hanoum had told 
me about Aishe Hanoum, Selim Pasha's third 
wife, it was natural I should take a special 
interest in this poor lady, who was wife and 
no wife, and mother only by proxy. 

I had known before that, when the Sultan 
of Turkey particularly desired to honor one 
of his pashas, he presented him with one of 
the beautiful women who adorned his palace 
and who had not yet become his wife. I also 
knew that, according to Mussulman etiquette, 
the pasha had to free her and make her his 
wife. But I had never before met such a wo- 
man, and until I knew her history I had 
taken no particular interest in Aishe Ha- 
noum, beyond noticing her beauty; for she 
was of a very retiring disposition. I had 

96 



thought her one of those persons who are 
content to live their lives in a dream and let 
reality pass by. 

But meeting her, after I knew her story, I 
asked her if she was not going to invite me to 
spend a day with her. 

^^ Indeed I am," she replied, *^only it is not 
my turn. I must find out when the second 
wife wishes to have you; for my turn must 
wait on hers.'' 

'^ She told me that she was not well enough 
to see me.'' 

" Oh ! then will you spend to-morrow with 
me?" 

The next morning, I had just finished my 
morning toilet when a slave came to conduct 
me to Ai'sh^ Hanoum, from whom she pre- 
sented me with an indoor veil. I arranged it 
on my hair, to show my appreciation of the 
gift, and followed the slave to the floor below, 
where her mistress lived. 

When I entered her apartments, I found 
her kneeling before an easel, deep in work. 

97 



As the slave announced me, she rose from the 
ground and came to me with outstretched 
hand. It struck me as curious that she of- 
fered to shake hands, instead of using the 
temendy the Turkish form of salutation, since 
I knew her to be extremely punctilious in the 
customs of her nation. I suppose she did this 
to make me feel more at home. 

''Welcome, young Hanoum," she said, 
after kissing me on both cheeks. 

''Do you paint?" I asked, going toward 
the easel, disguising my surprise at meeting 
with such disregard of Mussulman customs 
in this orthodox household. 

"No, not painting, just playing. It is only 
an impression, not a reproduction of one of 
Allah's realities." Good Mussulmans do not 
believe in "reproducing Allah's realities"; 
yet there stood on the easel a charming pas- 
tel. Even orthodox Moslems, I saw, were not 
above beating the devil round the stump. 

"How very beautiful!" I exclaimed. 
"Aish^ Hanoum, you are an artist." 

98 



-£AU 



''Pray! pray! young Hanoum/' she pro- 
tested, a little frightened I thought, ''pray 
do not say such things. I am not an artist. 
I only play with the colors.'^ 

"Let me see some more of your playing," 
I persisted. 

Rather reluctantly, though wishing to com- 
ply with her guest^s desires, she brought out 
a large portfolio, containing several pastels 
and water-colors, and we sat down on a rug 
to examine them. 

Whether they were well done or not I can- 
not tell; but they were full of life and happi- 
ness. The curious part was that, whenever 
she painted any outdoor life, she painted it 
from her window, and on the canvas first was 
the window, and then through it you saw the 
landscape as she saw it. 

The more I looked at her work, the more 
enthusiastic I grew. "You must be very 
talented," I said, turning to her. "It is a 
pity that you cannot go abroad to study." 

"But I have studied many years here." 

99 



"That is all very well/' I said, still busy 
looking at the pictures; ''just the same you 
ought to go to Paris to study." 

''What for?" she asked. 

"Because I think you have a great deal of 
talent which unfortunately is wasted in a 
harem." As I spoke, I raised my eyes. 

Ordinarily I am not a coward, though I do 
run from a mouse ; but when my eyes met her 
finely pencilled ones, there was a curious look 
of anger in them that made a shiver go down 
my back. "If I have said anything to offend 
you," I said, "I beg you to forgive me. Be- 
lieve me it was my enthusiasm." 

She smiled in a most charming way. If she 
had been angry it had gone quickly by. 

" But why do you wish me to go to Paris?" 
she asked again. 

"I don't know," I said, "except that Paris 
is nearer Turkey than any other great centre, 
and I feel that you ought to have the advan- 
tage of being where you could get all the help 
possible." 

lOO 



.jjX^j^ 



"What for?'' she inquired. 

I began to feel uncomfortable. I knew her 
very little, and this was the first time I ever 
visited a former Seraigli (one who has been 
an inmate of the Imperial palace). 

"Because," I answered lamely, "when a 
person has talent she generally goes to Paris 
or to some other great artistic centre." 

"What for?" again insisted the question. 

If I had not been in a harem, and in the 
presence of a woman of whom I was some- 
what afraid, my answer would have been, 
"Well, if you are foolish enough not to know, 
why, what is the use of telling you?" In- 
stead, while that exquisite hand was lying 
on my arm and those big almond-shaped eyes 
were holding mine, I tried to find a way of 
explaining. 

" If you were free to go, you could see mas- 
terpieces, you could study various methods of 
painting, and if it were in you, you might 
become great in turn." 

"What for?" was the calm inquiry. 

lOI 



.JUJLo 



She was very beautiful; not of the Turkish 
type, but of the pure Circassian, with ex- 
quisite lines and a very low, musical voice, 
and of all things on this earth I am most sus- 
ceptible to physical beauty. At that particu- 
lar moment, however, I should have derived 
great pleasure if I could have smacked her 
pretty mouth. 

*'Well,'' I said calmly, though I was irri- 
tated, '' if you had a great talent, and became 
very famous, you would not only have all the 
money you wanted, but glory and admira- 
tion." 

*'What for?" she repeated with inhuman 
monotony. 

^^For heaven's sake, Aishd Hanoum," I 
cried, ''I don't know what for; but if I could, 
I should like to become famous and have 
glory and lots of money." 

^' What for?" 

'* Because then I could go all over the 
world, and see everything that is to be seen, 
and meet all sorts of interesting people." 

I02 



"What for?" 

"Hanoum doudoUj^^ I cried, lapsing into 
the Turkish I had spoken as a child. "Are 
you trying to make a fool of me, or — '' 

She put her palms forward on the floor, and 
then her head went down and she laughed 
immoderately. I laughed too, considerably 
relieved to have done with her "what for's." 

She drew me to her as if I were a baby, and 
took me on her lap. " You would do all these 
things and travel about like a mail-bag be- 
cause you think it would make you happy, 
don't you, yavroum?^^ she asked. 

"Of course I should be happy.'' 

"Is this why you ran away from home — 
to get famous and rich?" 

She was speaking to me precisely as if I 
were a little bit of a thing, and was to be 
coaxed out of my foolishness. 

"I have neither fame nor riches," I an- 
swered, "so we need not waste our breath." 

"Sorry, yavroum, sorry," she said sym- 
pathetically. "I should have liked you to get 

103 



both; then you would see that it would not 
have made you happy. Happiness is not 
acquired from satisfied desires." 

^^What is happiness, then?" I asked. 

^' Allah kerim [God only can explain it]. 
But it comes not from what we possess, but 
from what we let others possess; and no 
amount of fame would have made me leave 
my home and go among alien people to learn 
their ways of doing something which I take 
great pleasure in doing in my own way." She 
kissed me twice on the cheek and put me 
down by her. "You are a dear litde one," 
she said as she began to prepare a cigarette. 

"Aish^ Hanoum," I asked, ''don't you 
really sometimes wish you were a free Euro- 
pean woman?" 

She wet the tissue paper of her cigarette 
and gave it a careful twist. ''I have never 
seen a European man to whom I should like 
to belong," she informed me. 

'' Goodness gracious, why should you be- 
long to any man at all?" 
104 



J)ySjJ:> 



''But I should not like to be one of those 
detached females that come to us from Ingle- 
terra and your America. They are repul- 
sive to me. A human being is like a tree or a 
flower; it must be productive and useful. A 
woman must have a lord and children." 

''But you have no children," I could not 
help saying. 

"Have I not, though?" She clapped her 
hands, and to the slave who came in she said, 
"Bring in my son, please." 

A few minutes later the young bey was 
brought in. He was a sturdy little fellow, full 
of health and good looks. No sooner was he 
in sight than mother and child were kissing 
and loving. When, after a few minutes, he 
was taken away, Aishe Hanoum informed me 
that till he was twelve years old she was to 
teach and instruct him herself. "We are al- 
ways together except when I have guests. 
Then the child is out to play. You say I have 
no children ! I wish you would stay here till 
the day I am to give my daughters away." 



Jjlpjs:^ 



''Your daughters?" I repeated. 

''Yes, I am liberating two of my young 
slaves. I bought them when they were ten 
years old. I instructed them myself; and 
now they are going to be freed and given into 
marriage, to be happy in the love they will 
give and take." 

I thought that in her voice there was 
a sad note as she said the last words; but 
then I am a very imaginative person, and 
my imagination is apt to play tricks with 
me. 

"I am going to stay," I said. "The Va- 
lide [the first wife] asked me to wait for the 
wedding, and also for the arrival of her son 
and his young wife." 

"Oh! I am indeed very pleased. You 
know, yavrounty we all like you, and should 
be very glad to have you be happy in the love 
of a good man." 

"Aishe Hanoum," I asked, "are you 
happy?" 

She looked at me for a minute or so while 
io6 



-ilU 



she inhaled and then exhaled the smoke of 
her dainty cigarette. 

''Would you like to know?" 

I nodded. 

''I will tell you all about myself — but you 
must not make me forget that you are my 
guest, and that I must look after your com- 
fort." She clapped her hands, and a young, 
pretty slave came in to take orders. I fancied 
that the slave had been crying. 

"You are not the one I called for," said 
Aish^ Hanoum; ''and what is more, you 
must stop coming in when I call." 

The tears began to trickle down the cheeks 
of the young girl. I was quite surprised. In 
all my experience with Turkish women, I 
never saw them stern with their slaves, and 
this young girl looked particularly miserable. 

The official wife clapped her hands again, 
and this time another slave came in. 

" Bring us in some sherbets and some cakes 
and cold water." 

The slaves departed, and in a little while 

107 



^,UXpj>r> 



the one who had been crying returned. Aish^ 
Hanoum looked at the girl, who, elaborately 
unconscious of the stern look, put her tray 
down, brought near us two low tables, inlaid 
with mother-of-pearl, and disposed the eat- 
ables on them. 

''Have I not told you not to wait on me?" 

The girl crossed her arms on her breast and 
stood motionless. She was very pretty ; rather 
tall, with glorious copper-colored hair, and 
luminous eyes. 

''What will the young Hanoum here think 
of your disobedience to me?'' the mistress 
asked. 

The girl looked at me through her tears. 

"I am sure that if the young Hanoum 
knew of the sorrow that is eating my poor 
heart, she would take my part/' she said, with 
great pathos in her voice. 

"I am inclined to think she would," said 
her mistress, "for I am afraid the young 
Hanoum is not very practical." 

In an instant the young girl was prostrated 

io8 



before me, kissing my hands, kissing my 
feet, and imploring me in the name of all the 
flowers that grow on great Allah's land to 
hear her and intercede with her mistress. 

I took the child's hand into mine and tried 
to comfort her ; then turning to her mistress 
I begged to know the cause of her grief. 

*'I will tell you, though I am afraid you are 
the wrong person." 

At a bound the slave was by her mistress. 
Her greenish eyes were dark blue and fiery. 
" If you present my case it is lost. Let me have 
the word ; let me show her my heart ; for it is 
my heart she is to judge, not yours. Be just, 
my mistress, since you give me this chance." 

** Suppose we put it off. Suppose Hanoum 
Djimlah be the judge, and not this Hanoum 
here. She does not know our ways very 
much. She is not of our faith, and she is 
young in experience. She has not yet a lord 
to her heart," the mistress explained. 

The slave drew herself up and fairly 
towered above us. Her little hands were 

109 



clasped tightly on her bosom. She threw her 
head back and looked at her mistress. There 
was defiance in her whole attitude. 

"You might just as well say that you want 
to cheat me out of the chance you offered to 
give me." 

Aishe Hanoum sighed and gave in. " Serve 
us first with something, for we are thirsty." 

The slave poured out some sherbet in the 
tall golden goblets — a present to Aish^ 
Hanoum from the Palace — and ministered 
to our wants; then she took her place on the 
floor, crosslegged, and said to her mistress : — 

''You are not to speak, beauty, at all, till 
I have done." 

"Very well, foolish," said the mistress. 

"Young Hanoum, my story is not very 
long, so I will not tire your kind ears with my 
miserable woes. I only want justice, and may 
Allah help you to help me. I was five years 
old when I was given to my mistress here. I 
have been faithful, good, patient, obedient, 
loving to her. I have never vexed her. When 
no 



I was fourteen years old, she wanted to free 
me and give me as a wife to a man. Why 
should I be given to a man when I want to 
stay here? I pleaded and pleaded, and she 
said that I might stay two years more. The 
two years passed as a day, and I was again to 
be given as a wife. I pleaded and cried again, 
and my mistress said that I might have two 
years more. Young Hanoum, have you ever 
watched the clouds on Allah's blue rug? 
Those years granted to me, faded from my 
unhappy eyes as quickly as they, and for days 
now she will not speak to me because I will 
not go. But I stay outside this door and wait 
on her just the same. She says that this time 
it is to a very nice, young, wealthy man she 
is going to marry me. But what is a man to 
me? It is my mistress I want; it is her face 
that must gladden daily my miserable exist- 
ence. It is here by her that I want to live and 
die. Oh! young Hanoum, give me justice;* 
and may the cypress tree that grows by the 
grave of your dear ones defy all the winds ! " 

III 



.MXsjJ=> 



Thereupon the girl began to cry; and between 
her moans she continued: '^This mistress is 
for me what to the trees are the leaves, what 
to the birds are the wings, what to the little 
babies is a mother. She says if I do not 
marry she will sell me to some one." 

I can give here the words, but they cannot 
show the pathos, the passion that the girl put 
in them. It made my heart melt within me, 
not from pity for the slave, but from envy for 
the mistress. Think of owning such a faithful 
creature ! 

*'I have heard your side," I said; "and 
now you would better go, and I will talk it 
over with your mistress." 

The slave came to me, kissed my hand 
ever so tenderly, and left the room. 

''Aish^ Hanoum," I asked, ''why do you 
want the child to be married and leave you, 
since her happiness is with you?" 

''You do not understand all the circum- 
stances, yavroum; that is why you ask me^ 
You see she is mine, and I can free her and 

112 



make a home for her. If I die to-morrow, 
what will become of her ? She might be freed, 
and she might not. In the last case she would 
have to belong to some one else for seven 
years before being freed. Or she might be 
changing hands all the time. I love her; she 
is my little girl, for I brought her up; and I 
want to see her marry and have babies of her 
own. She can see me all she wishes to. But 
what she wants is to feel that she belongs to 
me. She is getting old. It is time for her to be 
wife and mother. She is so beautiful; her 
figure is so perfect. It would be a pity to 
waste all that beauty in life." 

*' But she will be unhappy if she goes away 
from you." 

^^No; she does not know. A woman is 
never so happy as in the love she bears to her 
little ones and to the giver of them." 

'^What will you do?" I asked. *^Will you 
really sell her to somebody else?" 

**No, indeed; but I was going to send her 
away for a while. Only she is of such a pas- 

113 



sionate nature she might do violence to her- 
self. I have to act with great discretion." 

'* What manner of man is the one you want 
to marry her to ? She probably does not fancy 
him." 

''I have tried hard to have her see him 
from the window," said Ai'she Hanoum 
laughingly; ^^but every time I take her to the 
window and bid her look, she closes her eyes. 
She will be very happy indeed, and will have 
a slave of her own, but she is obstinate." 

*'Why not let her wait for a while?" I 
suggested. 

*^I am afraid of losing this good chance. 
I want to see all of them that are of age well 
provided for." 

*' Suppose," I said, '*that I decide that you 
are to let the girl alone?" 

She laughed her merry little laugh, and 
looked so beautiful that I wondered how a 
woman with such a wonderful beauty as hers 
could be given to two men and still remain 
unloved by them. 

114 



" Yavroum, you would not really decide to 
do anything so foolish, and destine such a 
beautiful handiwork of Allah's to barren- 
ness ? Besides, while she was telling her woes 
to you, I found a way out of the difficulty. I 
am going to ofiFer to let her live with me after 
her marriage. At the end of a year she will 
know that I was right." 

She clapped her hands. The girl came in. 

'Xome here, Kioutchouk-Gul." (The 
slaves often are given fancy names by their 
mistresses. This one meant Little Rose.) 

The slave came and made herself ever so 
little at the feet of her beloved mistress. 

^*I think Allah has shown me a way out of 
our troubles." She took the girPs hands into 
hers. ^'It is not marriage you object to so 
much as leaving me?" 

The girl nodded. 

*^Then how would you like to marry and 
still live with me? We both should have our 
way." 

In a second the girl was in the arms of 

IIS 



jjla^j^- 



Aishe Hanoum, calling her all sorts of en- 
dearing names, in which the Oriental lan- 
guage is so rich. 

Thus the incident ended. The sight of the 
tremendous love she had inspired in her slave 
gave me an idea of the beautiful character 
Aishd Hanoum must have. 

'^Aish^ Hanoum/' I said when we were 
left alone, **you promised to tell me all about 
yourself. Will you do so now?" 

*^Yes, yavroum; but will you tell me all 
about yourself and yoiu* life in America after- 
wards ? '' 

I promised. 

**I was born in Roumely, where my father 
was a nomadic chief," she began. 

The mere word Roumely to those who are 
born in the East is full of suggestion of bal- 
lads of valorous deeds and supernatural do- 
ings. Aish^ Hanoum became to my mind a 
more romantic figure than before. 

*^I remember quite well the way we lived. 
All we possessed was done up in bundles, for 
ii6 



we moved from one place to the other con- 
stantly. At night, if it was rainy or cold, the 
men would pitch the tents; and while the wo- 
men and children slept inside, the men would 
sleep outside, one always on guard. But gen- 
erally we all slept under Allah's own eyes. 
Life was like a dream, and like a dream it 
quickly vanished. My father died, leaving 
my mother alone to care for six little hungry 
mouths. We left the mountains and walked 
for days to reach a town. When there my 
mother took to doing all kinds of work to 
support us. I was only six years old. All I 
remember of that time is like another dream, 
only this time a bad one and it lasted longer, 
though, as days and nights count, not as 
many as five hundred I think. My mother's 
life became a sad one, and there was no longer 
sunshine and music. We lived in a little 
house which to me was like a wooden box, 
and soon we all became ill, and were very 
miserable. I do not think Allah meant his 
people to live in houses. He made the world 

117 



SO beautiful, that we might live in it and be 
happy. To this minute I cannot accustom 
myself to live in one room. That is why I 
have this big space." 

In fact she had taken three rooms, sixteen 
by twenty, and had them thrown together, 
slender columns supporting the ceiling. I 
was wondering what she would say if she saw 
a few of New York's apartments, where even 
Allah's sun is not potent enough to pierce 
high walls and enter. 

''One day, however, my mother came to 
us with joy in her face and said to me : ' My 
children, your father must be having in his 
favor the ear of the Prophet. Here comes to 
us a miraculous help. A rich Hanoum wishes 
to buy six or seven little girl slaves. I am 
going to sell you three little girls, and with 
the money go back to the mountains to bring 
up your brothers as true Roumeliotes, not 
like mice in a city.' 

''We were very happy. I did not know at 
the time what slavery was; but my mother 
ii8 



-iiio/^ 



explained it, and we were glad of the chance 
given to us." 

I must explain here that slavery in Turkey 
is not what the word implies in Christendom. 
A slave in Turkey is like an adopted child, 
to whom is given every advantage according 
to her talents. If she is beautiful, she is 
brought up like a young lady and is given as 
a wife to a noble and rich man ; if she is plain 
and clever, she becomes a teacher; if she is 
plain and not clever, she learns to do the 
manual work, sewing or domestic labor. Ac- 
cording to the Koran, a slave must be freed 
after seven years of servitude and be given a 
dowry of no less than two hundred and fifty 
dollars. 

Slaves always fare better than if they 
stayed at home. Generally they are drawn 
from the people who have been slaves them- 
selves, or from orphans. To a Turk who is 
poor, selling his children into slavery means 
giving them advantages which he could not 
possibly give them himself. 

119 



**Were you sorry to leave your mother?" 
I asked. 

^'How could I be sorry," was her reply, 
'* since I was giving her back to her moun- 
tains and her sunshine ? My two little sisters 
and myself journeyed for days, sometimes on 
the backs of animals, and sometimes in what 
seemed to me then wooden boxes on wheels. 

^'In the house of my new mistress I re- 
mained with my sisters for seven years. She 
was lovely to us, and although we did not 
live out-of-doors all the time, we lived in a 
large house, in a very large garden, and by 
the water. It was in Smyrna. We had never 
seen anything before except mountains and 
trees. When we came to Smyrna we were 
afraid of everything, even of the commonest 
things. After we had learned that all the 
strange things would not hurt us, we were 
taken out on the water in a small boat, and 
after a time we were taught how to make it 
go ourselves. We also learned to read and 
write, and we were taught French, and to 

120 



JMj^^^ 



paint and play the guitar, and to dance. They 
were not as strict there as they are in my 
household here. When I was fourteen I w^as 
spoken of as a very beautiful person, and a 
Hanoum who came to see me once said I was 
only fit for the Sultan. My beauty travelled 
from Smyrna to the Palace, and some one 
came out to our house to see me. That is 
how I was given to the Sultan on his anniver- 
sary." 

" Were you sorry to be sent to the Palace ? " 
I asked. 

She looked at me as if I had asked some- 
thing that only people out of their minds 
could ask. 

''I was so happy," said she, as if speaking 
to herself, ^'that for nights I could not go to 
sleep. At last the day came when I was to 
see the great ruler of the greatest nation of 
the living world." She crossed her hands on 
her lap with a far-away look on her face, as 
if gazing on her dead youth and its dreams. 

As I looked at her I was wondering 

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JJJuoj^ 



whether she had ever had any happiness, and 
unconsciously I found myself asking her, 
^'Were you happy in the Palace?" 

My question brought her back to the earth, 
and she laughed her gay little laugh, and 
patted my hand. 

'^You dear yavroum, you are such a little 
baby, why should I not be happy? To me 
was given the honor of being sent to the Calif, 
which was no less an honor to my new mo- 
ther than it was to me.'' 

^^Did you see the Sultan?'' I asked. 

'' Y-e-s. When I reached the Palace I was 
taken to my rooms; and after a few days, 
when I was sufficiently rested, they dressed 
me ever so beautifully for the Pattissah to 
see me." 

Again that far-away look came into her 
pretty face, but she went on with her story. 

^^It was in a large living-room, we were all 
assembled — such beautiful women and so 
many! I was by the chair of the Sultana 
when he, our ruler, came in. I was presented 

122 



to him, and he smiled kindly at me, and said 
that he hoped I should be happy in the Pal- 
ace. I was given by his order many gems 
and costly robes and slaves of my very own, 
but Allah never meant for me the honor of 
wifehood with the Master. Kismet, Ne 
apeymy 

'*0h! Aishe Hanoum!" I cried when she 
stopped. ''Do tell me more of palace life." 

''No, no, yavroum, you cannot know that. 
It is not spoken out of the Palace; but you 
may see the litde girl I am hoping some day 
to send there." 

I gasped. "You don't mean to say that 
you are going to send somebody to the Pal- 
ace?" 

"Why, you dear little crest of the waves, 
why should I not, when I find a little girl who 
I think is going to be most gloriously beauti- 
ful." 

She clapped her hands and Kioutchouk- 
Gul came in beaming with smiles. Her mis- 
tress returned the smiles as she said : — 

123 



''Bring me in Gul-Allen" (Rose of the 
World). 

A few minutes later a little girl was marched 
in. She was tall and well shaped, and carried 
her head magnificently. She was four years 
old, but looked seven. If she grows up to be 
as beautiful as she looked then, she will make 
a stunner. The curious part was that she 
looked like her mistress. Her eyes were that 
almond shape, the color, as Rossetti expresses 
it, like the sea and the sky mixed together, 
only in theirs the landscape was mixed in too. 
Every feature in her face seemed to have been 
nature's great care. The color of her skin 
was clear white, and you could see the veins 
as if they were finely traced with a blue pen- 
cil, and her mouth was Cupid's bow. 

'' Aish6 Hanoum," I begged, when the child 
left us, ''please don't send her to the Palace. 
Suppose she never becomes his wife. She 
will be happier with a young man for a hus- 
band." 

Ai'she Hanoum looked puzded at me. 
124 



JJJuijs> 



** Suppose you had a great talent, and your 
mother never gave you a chance with it, 
would you think her just ? You see, yavroum, 
I am giving you an example from your own 
standards to judge. Tell me, would n't you 
blame her all your life?'^ 

I acquiesced. 

*^It would be the same with my little Gul- 
Allen." 

"But suppose when she grows up she 
refuses to go, like the other?'' 

'*0h, she will not; for she will be brought 
up with this idea in mind. Her education is 
to be very careful. Besides, in the heart of 
every Mussulman woman, the highest honor 
on this side of the earth is to give a son to the 
Pattissah. You have to be a Turkish woman 
to understand this. And now you must see 
my palace robes and my gems." 

Kioutchouk-Gul received her orders, and 
in a few minutes she came in, carrying on her 
head a bundle two feet thick and four long, 
and in that space carefully folded were twenty 

I2S 



Jj3iBjs> 



most gorgeous garments ! Think of the space 
twenty of our stupid gowns would require ! 

Kioutchouk-Gul opened the Persian shawl, 
and as she unfolded each garment she pa- 
raded it on her slim shoulders. In my child- 
hood I was put to sleep with Oriental tales, 
where the princesses wore magnificent clothes 
that only a fairy queen's wand could produce. 
Those garments belonged to that category. 
Bright silks represented sky and stars worked 
with silver and gold and fastened with pre- 
cious stones. There was one of dark red on 
which were embroidered with silver thread 
white chrysanthemums, and the heart of each 
flower on the front border was a topaz ! 

Think of having all these clothes and the 
jewelry to go with them because the Sultan 
cast his eyes five minutes on you. No wonder 
that in the heart of every Mussulman woman 
the desire to go to the Palace is so great. 
Though it is religion that prompts them, 
where is the truly feminine heart that is in- 
different to beautiful garments? 
126 



_£JUL2^J> 



From Ai'she Hanoum I went to my room 
rather bewildered. Orientalism was like a 
labyrinth: the more I advanced in it, the 
more entangled I became. One woman after 
another was confronting me with a new pro- 
blem, a new phase of life; and I felt stupid 
and incapable of understanding them. It 
hurt my vanity, too, to find how small I was 
in comparison with them. I should have liked 
really to sell myself to them for a year, merely 
to be able to live with them continuously, to 
try to understand a little more of their lives. 
They interested and charmed me : they were 
so much worth understanding. There was so 
much of the sublime in them, which is lack- 
ing in our European civilization. I felt petty 
and trivial every time I found myself facing 
one of those conditions which they under- 
stood so well. It is true that in Europe and 
America there are, and have been, women 
who sacrifice their lives for big causes. But 
as a rule it is a cause to which glory is at- 
tached, or else some tremendous thing they 

127 



half understand, and to which they give 
themselves blindly because of its appeal to 
that sentimentahty which is so colossal in 
European women. With these Turkish wo- 
men the sacrifices came in the small things 
of daily life, things for which they received 
no thanks, for which their names did not 
become immortal. And through their self- 
abnegation they were reaching heights un- 
known to us of the western world. I do not 
mean to say that our women do not sacrifice 
themselves in every-day life. They do; but it 
is not with the sublimity of soul with which 
these supposed soulless women do. 



VI 



HOULME HANOUM, THE DISCON- 
TENTED 

While I was visiting Selim Pasha's house- 
hold, Djimlah's youngest half-sister, Houlm^, 
was there, too. She had been brought up by 
her maternal grandfather far away from 
Constantinople, somewhere in Asia Minor, 
and I had never seen her until the present 
visit. She was very friendly to me from a dis- 
tance, like a timid wood-goddess, who dared 
not approach. Now and then she would smile 
at me, and her large eyes seemed full of ques- 
tioning. She did not look modern, and did 
not move like ordinary women. I always 
thought of her as Antigone. 

One evening, unexpectedly, she came to 
my room, looking like a vestal, and carrying 
a basket full of flower-petals. She asked if she 
might give me my flower-bath. This was a 

129 



.ZJJLo/^ 



great honor to a mortal like me, for her 
grandmother had been a sister of the Sultan. 
I anticipated that now, at last, she would talk 
to me; but she gave me my bath almost with- 
out a word. Then, when she asked permis- 
sion to spend the night wfth me, and after the 
slaves had made her bed at the foot of mine, 
I again expected some conversation from her : 
again young Houlm^ crept into her little bed, 
stretched her arms out, palms upward, and 
prayed that Allah, the only true God, should 
guard the living and help the dead, and 
quietly laid herself down to sleep. 

For more than an hour I lay in bed, and 
sleep would not come. I wondered whether 
the young Turkish girl was asleep, and fell 
to thinking about her. My thoughts on 
Houlme were interrupted pleasantly by a 
nightingale. I have heard nightingales all 
over Europe, but they do not sing as they 
do in the East. The reason perhaps is be- 
cause all over the world they are mere birds, 
while in the East they are the mythical Bul- 

130 



-iiW^ 



Buls, the souls starved for love. It is be- 
lieved that once a Bul-Bul loved a rose, and 
the rose aroused by the song woke trembling 
on her stem. It was a white rose, as all roses 
at the time were — white, innocent, and vir- 
ginal. It listened to the song, and something 
in its rose heart stirred. Then the Bul-Bul 
came ever so near the trembling rose and 
whispered words which the rose could not 
help hearing. "Ben severim sana Gul-GuU^ 
At those words of love the little heart of the 
rose blushed, and in that instant pink roses 
were created. The Bul-Bul came nearer and 
nearer, and though Allah, when he created 
the world, meant that the rose alone should 
never know earthly love, it opened its petals 
and the Bul-Bul stole its virginity. In the 
morning the rose in its shame turned red, 
giving birth to red roses; and although ever 
since then the nightingale comes nightly to 
ask of the divine love, the rose refuses; for 
Allah never meant rose and bird to mate. 
Thus, although the rose trembles at the 

131 



.JJULo,^i> 



voice of the nightingale, its petals remain 
closed. 

That night the memory of this story was 
particularly dear to me, because it brought 
back to me my childhood dreams. In order 
to enjoy better the nightingale I sat up. The 
little platform on which my bed was made 
creaked, and Houlme spoke. 

*'Are you awake, too, young Hanoum?" 

''I have been unable to sleep," I said. 

*'I have not been asleep either. There is 
no sleep to-night for mortals." 

She got out of bed, went to a closet, and 
brought out two white silk burnooses. 

*^ Come, young Hanoum," she said. '' Come, 
let us no longer stay in our beds." 

I threw over my shoulders the soft garment. 
Houlm6 put hers on. She took my hand, 
and we went out on the little balcony. 

It was one of those wonderful Oriental 
nights, when the beauty of nature is intox- 
icating, maddening. The sky was indigo- 
blue without the shadow of a cloud; the stars 
132 



were brilliantly lighting the hills and the 
garden, and a half-grown moon was travel- 
ling fast toward the Bosphorus. Except for 
the singing of the nightingale all was still. 

*'That is why we cannot sleep." It was 
Houlme speaking. ^' There is too much love 
on the earth to-night; and we being of the 
earth cry for our own. My poor heart has 
travelled over endless seas and is with him 
now, and my young life is crying for him." 

It was a strange night, and that Mahom- 
etan girl standing next to me in her glori- 
ous beauty, and talking a language mysteri- 
ous as the East, captivated my imagination. 
As I looked at her, at her large black eyes 
and arched eyebrows, her ivory complexion 
and her lovely mouth, I felt that she could 
do things that an ordinary woman could not. 
And the night had loosened her tongue, as 
it had the nightingale's. 

^^I sometimes think," she went on, ^^that 
it is wrong for women to think and to know 
much, for they kill nature with their thoughts. 



Men, great men, never think when it comes 
to love ; they only love and taste life. It is as 
it should be, as Allah meant life and love to 
be. What has our poor woman's mind to do 
with the workings of the universe? If it 
were not for my foolish thinking, I should 
not be craving love now like the Bul-Bul." 

Turkish women in some ways are very 
different from the women of other races. 
They may be more educated than our col- 
lege girls, they may speak four or five lan- 
guages, and read the masterpieces of each of 
these languages, but they remain children of 
nature, as we do not. If you spend a day 
with them and they love you, you will know 
their hearts and minds as they truly are. 
There is no false shame or prudery about 
them. They speak as they think and feel. 

Houlme apparently felt very much that 
lovely midsummer night, and her heart was 
breaking for something I could not well 
make out. She drew me to her and kissed me. 

''Glorious one, do you sufifer as I do?" 
134 



** I don't know how you suffer/' I answered. 

She clasped her hands to her bosom. *' Oh ! 
I suffer as if my poor heart were on fire. 
It is crying out for that other heart which, 
but for my foolishness, would be near me 
now." 

I did not care to ask anything for fear of 
stopping her half-confession. 

^'Houlme," I said instead, '* you are very 
beautiful. I would give anything to be as 
beautiful as you are." 

^^ Why should you like to have my beauty, 
beloved Hanoum? You said you did not 
wish to be married; beauty is only good to a 
woman to give to the man she loves; you 
ought not to have any, and Allah ought to 
have made you black." 

I shuddered. On a night like this, every- 
thing seemed possible, and I looked around 
for the wicked ev-sahib who might change 
my color. 

''Foreign Hanoum," said Houlmd, "tell 
me a little about the women of England. 

135 



.ZJULo^hC. 



Are they so beautiful that they can make 
men forget their vows to other women?'' 

'^Some of them are very handsome/' I 
answered, ''but not as beautiful as you 
women of the East. To my mind you are the 
only kind of women that could make men 
forget their vows, and Mahomet knew what 
he was about when he made his laws." 

*' You are not right about our Prophet, be- 
loved Hanoum, for he never meant women 
to be kept apart from men ; but what you say 
gladdens my poor heart — or are you speak- 
ing thus because you have divined my sorrow 
and wish to comfort me?" 

''I know nothing about you, Houlme, ex- 
cept what little you have told me to-night." 

''Oh! glorious Hanoum, sometimes I 
should like to feel as you women of other 
lands feel, though I know it to be wicked to 
wish to be different from what the great 
Allah made me. But I am sorry I have been 
brought up as a woman of the West." 

" But you are not," I said. " You are less of 
136 



jM^ 



the West than any Mussulman girl I have met. 
What makes you think that you are like us ? " 
*' Because, young Hanoum, I was brought 
up by foreigners. I speak English, French, 
and German as well as I do my own lan- 
guage, and I know more of your literatures 
than I know of our own. The thoughts of 
your great writers have made a great change 
in my poor Eastern thoughts. You see, 
young Hanoum, I was brought up by my ma- 
ternal grandfather, who is a Turk of the new 
school, which believes that women ought to 
be educated to be the companions of men. 
He brought me up with my cousin Murat, 
to whom I was betrothed as soon as I was 
born. He is only four years older than my- 
self, but I shared his studies and his games 
till I reached womanhood and had to take 
tcharchaf. I was then fourteen. Of course 
from that moment I did not see my cousin, 
as I was living in the haremlik and he in the 
selamlik. When I was eighteen my respect- 
able grandfather called me to him and said 

137 



that the time had come for me to be the wife 
of Murat Bey. As I said before, my grand- 
father is of the new school and does not be- 
lieve in forcing marriage upon women. He 
asked me if I were ready ? I was ready — not 
to marry, but to ask a favor. 

'^ I must tell you, young Hanoum, that from 
the day I took myself to the haremlik to be a 
woman and not a child, I gave my limited 
mind to the studies of your great writers. 
From them I understood that there was a 
greater love than the love based on affection, 
and I wanted to make sure that Murat pre- 
ferred me to other women. I asked, therefore, 
my learned grandfather to send Murat for * 
three years out in the world, in the different 
capitals of Europe, in some diplomatic post. 
If at the end of the three years Murat loved 
me still, and thought me worthy to be his 
wife, I would marry him. He has been for 
a year in Vienna, then for a year in Paris, 
and now he is in England. As was my 
wish then, Murat never writes me — but he 

138 



sends me books and presents all the time. 
Since he has gone I take one daily paper 
from Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and London. I 
also take several monthly periodicals, so that 
my mind may be ready for my cousin when 
he comes back to me. From what I read in 
your papers, I do not like your world, and 
I am glad that I am a Mahometan girl. 
But I know also this, that it is wrong, wrong 
for women to think." 

*'It is a dangerous experiment," I said, 
'*not for women to think, but to do what you 
have done. You sent the man you love away 
before he really knew you. If he had seen 
you as a woman, I doubt whether all the 
beauties of Europe could make him forget 
you. On the other hand, it is hardly fair to 
expect a youth to remember a child of four- 
teen. Why don't you write to each other, in 
order that at least he may know your mind ? " 

'^ Because I do not wish him to be reminded 
of me except by his own heart." 

^^Houlme," I said, ''are you not rather 

139 



romantic ? What in the name of all flowers 
made you do such idiotic things ? " 

*'You don't understand me very much, 
young Hanoum; that is why you think me 
romantic. The day before I took tcharchaf, 
Murat Bey took me to his father's grave and 
there he promised me to remain faithful to 
me all his life after he became my husband. 
He vowed that I shall remain his only wife, 
unless Allah did not send us boys. He gave 
me then a dagger with a poisoned blade and 
asked me to stab his heart if he ever was 
untrue to me after our marriage. As I grew 
older, and read much about life, I knew that 
it was unfair to Murat Bey to tie him down 
to such a great promise, unless I gave him a 
chance to see the world and many women.'' 
" Does he know why he was sent abroad ? " 
''Oh, yes! I wrote him a long letter and 
explained to him my thoughts. At first he 
did not like the idea, for he said he knew 
that he loved me and wanted to be married 
to me, but at last he consented." 
140 



" Suppose that he falls in love with another 
woman and marries her, what will you do ? " 

''I shall use the dagger for my own heart," 
she said simply. 

To think that she would kill herself for an 
idea ! For Murat could be no more than an 
idea to her, she never really having known 
him as a man. I looked at her and wondered 
what things she might be capable of doing 
when she should love a real man. 

"Houlme," I asked, *^ suppose your cousin 
came back and you married him, and after 
a few years of marriage he wanted another 
wife, as so many good Moslems do; would 
you use your dagger?" 

Her beautiful black eyes were wonderful 
on that glorious Oriental night; they looked 
like big stars, and as they met mine I had no 
need of an answer. 

At that moment a light breeze from the sea 
passed, and in the stillness of the night we 
heard the moving of the leaves and flowers. 

*^They are awakening," said Houlme. 

141 



Jjlpj^ 



"The nightingale has reached their hearts. 
You can hear the rose tremble on its stem.'' 

With the Eastern legend behind the notes 
I could fancy the Bul-Bul implore the awak- 
ening rose for a love that was never to be 
granted. 

Houlme was listening with all her heart in 
her eyes. One would say in watching her 
that she understood every syllable the lover 
bird sang. The song of the nightingale rose 
to a transcendent pathos and then abruptly 
stopped. 

'*Poor little feathered lover," the young 
Turkish girl murmured, ''you have been de- 
nied a little love which would make your 
singing immortal, and we shall hear you no 
more." 

Houlmd Tr\a,de allusion to the Oriental 
belief that on some such night as this the 
nightingale's song, at its tenderest, most pas- 
sionate note, does reach the heart of the rose, 
and that if then the rose still denies him, he 
dies. As the little body is never found, it is 
142 



believed that the other, silent nightingales 
make his grave at the foot of the rose-bush. 
Whether this thought brought graves to 
the mind of my companion I don't know, 
but of a sudden she was on her feet and an- 
nounced to me that she was going to the little 
cemetery to pray. There was no use arguing 
with her, as I saw her mind was made up; 
and in a few minutes, like two white phan- 
toms, we were in the garden, where Houlmd 
filled her arms with roses. Then she opened 
a gate, ever so little, made in the thick wall, 
and we were out in the open fields. She 
walked along majestically, without the slight- 
est misgiving of her misconduct, and in a 
short while we were in the little cemetery. 
Once there, she walked directly to one grave, 
covered it with her flowers, threw herself on 
it and prayed. To me, crouching under the 
cemetery wall and imagining each tombstone 
either a phantom or, worse yet, a human 
form advancing toward us, it seemed as if she 
prayed an eternity. At last she got up, turned 

143 



her tear-stained face to me, and asked me to 
give a prayer for an unhappy woman. 

On our way home I asked her if she knew 
whose grave it was. Not till we found our- 
selves again on our balcony did she speak. 

^^That grave, dear blossom, is Chakendd 
Hanoum's," she said. 

^'Who was Chakende Hanoum?'' I asked. 
Houlme looked at me incredulously. 

'^You have been here so many days and 
no one has told you Chakende Hanoum's 
story?" 

''No one," I answered, ''and I am glad, 
for I would rather that you tell me her story 
since you love her grave so." 

The light sea-breeze became more auda- 
cious every moment, and brought to our bal- 
cony the perfumes of the thousands of flowers 
growing beneath us, as Houlme began. 

"Chakende Hanoum was the daughter of 

Nazim Pasha. She was educated in the 

Western fashion. She was as beautiful as an 

houri and as good as Allah's own heart. She 

144 



was given as a wife to Djamal Pasha, a young 
and dashing courtier. They were very much 
in love with each other, and he promised her 
that she should remain his first and only wife. 
Their marital life was blessed with two boys 
and one girl. Chakende grew more beautiful 
as happiness became her daily portion. 

**One day, when she was returning with 
her retinue from a visit she had made in 
Stamboul, on the bridge of Galata and in a 
closed carriage, she saw her husband in com- 
pany with a foreign woman. That night 
when he came home, she questioned him, 
and he only answered that the lady was a for- 
eigner. Chakende Hanoum understood that 
her husband did not wish to be asked any 
more questions. Early in the morning, how- 
ever, she sent for her brother, and from him 
she learned what was generally known. 

^^ She took a few of her slaves and went 
to her country place. She stayed there for 
several days, giving the situation her whole 
thought; then she came back to her husband. 

145 



.JMju^ 



She told him that she knew the truth, that she 
had thought the matter over, and had decided 
to give him back his word, as to her remain- 
ing his only wife. Thus he could marry the 
foreign lady. It was then that Djamal Pasha 
turned her from Allah. He laughed at her, 
and said that Mademoiselle Roboul of the 
French theatrical company was the kind of a 
woman that men loved but did not marry. 
Chakend^ Hanoum said nothing, but that 
very same day went into her garden and 
plucked roses from a laurel tree. You know, 
young Hanoum, what you can do with those 
roses ? " 

A shiver ran down my back as I nodded. 

*'A few nights later, when Djamal Pasha 
was about to retire, Chakende Hanoum 
prepared his sherbet for him. Her hand did 
not tremble, though her face was white as 
she handed it to him. It did not last long; 
Djamal Pasha died from an unexplained 
malady; but Chakende Hanoum kept on 
plucking laurel roses daily. After a little 
146 



JJJUL 



while they put her in her little grave, too, five 
years ago." 

We sat silent for a while. The moon had 
travelled fast and was now near the water, 
bridging the Bosphorus with her moonglade. 
The garden, the hills, and the water changed 
with the changing slant of the rays, and be- 
came more wondrously enchanting still, 
though that had not seemed possible before, 
and enthralled me with the fascination of the 
East — the East whose language and ways 
of dealing with right and wrong had been 
alien to me for six years. 

"It is wrong for women to think — it is 
wrong, at least, for us women of the East." 
It was Houlm^ Hanoum who spoke again. 
*'They educate us and let us learn to think 
as you women of the West think, but the 
course of our lives is to be so different. Since 
they let us share your studies they ought to 
let us lead your lives, and if this cannot be 
done, then they ought not to let us study and 
know other ways but our own. If Chakend6 

147 



Hanoum were an Eastern woman in her 
thoughts as she was in her heart, she would 
have been with us now a happy woman, mak- 
ing her motherless children happy, too." 

''Houlme," I said, ''for some of you, Oc 
cidental education is like strong wine to un- 
accustomed people. It simply goes to your 
heads. Look at Djimlah, your sister; she cer- 
tainly is as educated as you are, but she could 
never behave the way you or Chakende 
Hanoum did. 

''True,'' Houlme assented. "My sister is 
educated as far as speaking European lan- 
guages goes, but she has never been touched 
by Occidental thought. To her, her husband 
is her lord, the giver of her children. To me, 
and to those who think as I do, a man must 
be more. He must be to his wife what she is 
to him, all in all. Is not this what the Occi- 
dental love is? I did not use to think this 
way till I read your books. I wish I had 
never, never known. I do not like to hurt the 
feelings of my venerable grandfather, for I 

148 



am the only child of his only daughter, as 
Murat is the only child of his only son, and I 
know that he did by me what he thought best. 
Sometimes, however, I should like him to 
know that with his new ideas he has made me 
miserable by allowing me to acquire thoughts 
not in accordance with our mode of living." 

*^Houlme, if your cousin came back, and 
you became his wife and had any daughters, 
how would you bring them up?" 

*^ I have thought of this very much indeed," 
was her answer, ^^and I should like to talk it 
over with Murat when he becomes my hus- 
band. I do not think Turkish parents have 
any right to experiment with their children. 
I should not like to give to my daughters this 
burden of unrest. I should like to bring them 
up as true Osmanli women." 

*'Then you disapprove of the modern sys- 
tem of education that is creeping into the 
harems ? Were you to be free to see men and 
choose your husbands, would you still disap- 
prove?" 

149 



.D}jijs> 



**Yes. It took you many generations to 
come to where you are. Back of you there 
are hundreds of grandmothers who led your 
life and worked for what you have to-day. 
With us it is dififerent: we shall be the first 
grandmothers of the new thought, and we 
ought to have it come to us slowly and 
through our own efiforts. Mussulman women, 
with the help of Mahomet, ought to work out 
their own salvation, and borrow nothing from 
the West. We are a race apart, with different 
traditions and associations." 

"Is this the thought of the educated wo- 
men of the harems to-day?" I asked. 

Houlm^^s face saddened as she said: — 

**No, young Hanoum, I am alone in this 
thought as far as I can make out. The others 
say that we must immediately be given free- 
dom and liberty to do as we like with our- 
selves. Indeed, they look upon me with mis- 
trust as if I were a traitor." 

'' Have they any definite plans of what they 
want to do?" 

ISO 



jJXsj^ 



'^I doubt whether you would call them 
definite plans, but I should like very much to 
have you come with me to our next meeting, 
which will be in two days. There are forty 
of them now and I think that they will do 
more harm than good, as they are going about 
it in a very irrational way. Their motto is, 
'Down with the Old Ideas.' Naturally they 
refuse to obey their parents and their hus- 
bands.'' 

*'How old are they, on the average?" 

**The youngest of them all is seventeen and 
the oldest forty. They are all unmarried, 
with the exception of five who have left their 
husbands." 

''You are not in sympathy with their move- 
ment though you belong to it?" 

"No, young Hanoum, for I am afraid that 
it is more romanticism that guides them than 
thought for our beloved country. I call them 
to myself, 'Les Romanesques des Harems,' 
though they call themselves 'Les Louises 
Michel.'" 

151 



^^yx^jj^ 



"Goodness gracious!" I exclaimed, 
"Louise Michel was an anarchist!'' 

" So are they," said Houlme; "and because 
I tell them that through anarchy we can do 
nothing, they will not hear me." 

I told her that I should certainly be glad to 
go with her to the meeting of the reformers, 
and she promised to take me soon. 

We did not go inside the house that night- 
Bringing some pillows and rugs out on the 
balcony, we slept there until the morning 
light drove us in. 



VII 

SUFFRAGETTES OF THE HAREM 

Asleep, I gradually became conscious of a 
low murmuring song, and opened my eyes to 
meet those of my little slave Kondje. 

*'May the day be a happy one to you, 
glorious Hanoum," she said when her eyes 
met mine. 

^^Is it late?" I asked. 

*'The magnificent sun has been at his 
pleasure-giving task for some time now. My 
mistress's sister gave me orders not to let the 
daylight make you heavy with sleep; for you 
are going out with her before the heat begins. 
That is why I have been coaxing your spirit 
back to your body with my song." 

'^Did you have to coax it long?" I asked, 
smiling at the Oriental superstition against 
awakening any one suddenly. They believe 

153 



that the soul leaves the body during sleep, 
and wanders in other lands. 

^^ Yes, young Hanoum. It must have gone 
far away from here, and where the flowers 
blossom their prettiest; for a pleasant smile 
was on your lips. Now your body and spirit 
are together again, and here is your coffee 
while I go to make ready your bath." 

I looked at my watch. It was a quarter to 
six. In harems one goes to bed early and 
wakes up early again. Perhaps this is the 
secret of the beauty of the Eastern women. 

As I was sipping my coffee, I remembered 
that to-day I was to go with Houlme Hanoum 
to the meeting of advanced Turkish women. 

My coffee finished, and my bath and my 
toilet, I went to the window to look at the 
east in its morning glory. A heavy rain had 
fallen in the night, and the beflowered na- 
ture that met my eyes was a very clean and 
fresh one. It looked like a Turkish Hanoum 
coming from her morning bath. And this 
loveliness alone was left from the rain: the 
154 



thirsty earth had drunk every drop of the 
water. 

As I looked through the latticed window, 
my eyes roamed first down to the gay Bos- 
phorus plashing at the feet of the fairylike 
dwellings along its banks; then to the co- 
quettish hills bathed in the morning glow. 
From the farther view my glance came back 
to our garden, to be surprised by the sight of 
two young Turks walking about among the 
flowers, in that portion allotted to the men. 
Then I remembered that Selim Pasha had 
brought a number of guests with him the 
night before. As I was looking at the two 
Turks my surprise became delight on recog- 
nizing in one of them a friend of my child- 
hood, of whom I had been very fond. 

I clapped my hands, and Kondje came 
running in. 

''Please go down and see if the Valid^ 
Hanoum is up yet," I said; ''and if she is, ask 
her if she could receive me." 

In a few minutes the slave returned to tell 

155 



me that the Vah'de was about to partake of 
her morning meal, and would consider it an 
honor if I would join her. 

I rushed down to her. ^^ Good-morning to 
you, Valide Hanoum," I cried, and plunged 
at once into the reason for my visit, without 
those flattering and ceremonious approaches 
that would have been fitting. ^' You need not 
grant me what I am going to ask of you, but I 
should like you very much to grant it." 

*' Good-morning to you, first rose of a 
young rosebush," she answered, un vexed by 
my lack of politeness. ''And I shall grant 
you what you wish, provided that it comes 
under my jurisdiction. If it does not we shall 
have to apply to our just master, Selim 
Pasha, who is again back among us." 

I pointed out of the window at the young 
men walking in the garden. ''I want to go 
and speak to them," I said. 

''What?" She threw back her lovely head 
and laughed her fresh, happy laugh. 

"You dear, dear yavroum! You are al- 

156 



ready tired of us women-folk, and want to go 
and talk with the men." 

^^Not a bit," I protested. ''1 would gladly 
give up the society of ten men for yours, 
Valide Hanoum ; but one of those young fel- 
lows is Halil Bey, with whom I used to play 
when I was a child. Do, please, say that I 
may go and speak to him!" 

^'Nay, nay, little pearl, you must not speak 
to him. He is to be married in two weeks, 
and I cannot allow any temptation in his 
way. I might change my mind, however, 
after we have partaken of some nourishment. 
You know, yavroum, a hungry person sees 
the world all awry." 

As she spoke the slaves were bringing in 
freshly picked fruit from the orchard, on 
brass trays on their heads. A small slave also 
carried a basket charmingly arranged with 
vine leaves and grapes from the house vine- 
yards — and nowhere on earth do grapes 
taste as good as those of Constantinople. 

All the different fruits were arranged on 

157 



their own leaves on low tables inlaid with 
mother-of-pearl, and we ate them without the 
use of knives. Then one slave brought in a 
graceful brass basin, while another presented 
the soap and poured out water for us from a 
slender brass water-jug. A third handed us 
embroidered Turkish towels to dry our 
hands on. Meanwhile, an old slave came in 
with a brazier, sat down in the middle of the 
room, and cooked the coffee, while the two 
young slaves passed the delicious beverage 
to us with toast and cakes. This was all our 
breakfast. At its close the Valide turned to 
the old slave and asked : — 

''Nadji, what do you suppose this young 
Hanoum wants to do?" 

The old slave looked at me with her kind, 
motherly eyes. ''The young Hanoum has 
good taste. I suppose she wants to marry 
one of our men and be one of us. Indeed 
Allah, the great and only God, be my wit- 
ness, but since she has been with us she looks 
prettier and healthier.'' 

158 



The Valide and I shrieked with laughter. 

*'No, Nadji, the young Hanoum has not 
yet come to such a grave resolution. She 
wants to go and talk with those two young 
men walking in the garden." 

The slave left her embers, walked to the 
window, and looked critically at the two men. 
*^Mashallah!" she cried, smacking her lips, 
*^but they are two worthy young specimens. 
The young Hanoum will want to stay among 
us more than ever." 

"Nadji, would you then let her go?" 

"It is not for me to decide, but for you, 
honored head of a most honored household." 

*'But would it be right, Nadji, to let her go 
talk to them?" 

Nadji looked me straight in the eyes as if 
to ascertain whether I were worthy. 

"She talks to men when she is at home, 
my beloved mistress." 

"Yes," smiled the Valide, "she does. 
But you know, Nadji, the young Hanoum 
particularly wishes to talk to Halil Bey, who 

159 



is to be married in two weeks' time. " The 
Valide's smile was full of mischief. 

Nadji examined me again. ^^It does not 
matter, my Valide. Halil Bey's mind is 
filled with the thought of one woman, who 
is to be his, and whom he has not seen. 
His fancy is clothing her with wondrous 
beauty, and no real person can do any harm. 
Allah is wise as wxll as great." Her gray 
head was bowed low at Allah's name. 

*'I am glad you approve, Nadji; for this 
young Hanoum here so pleases my fancy that 
I am likely to spoil her." She turned to me: 
*'Run along, yavroum, only be sure to put 
on your wooden sandals, for there might be 
some chill left in the earth after the rain. I 
will notify the young men of the honor you 
are about to bestow upon them." 

A few minutes later I was by the side of 
the astonished Halil Bey, who, if he ever 
thought of me, thought of me as in the wilds 
of America. In his gladness at seeing me 
again he picked me up, kissed me on both 
i6o 



cheeks, and set me down on the bench, to 
pour into my ears the wonders of the beauty 
of his unknown bride to be. 

*'But suppose," I suggested to him, when 
his enthusiasm at length gave me an oppor- 
tunity to put in an objection, ^'suppose when 
you raise the veil, instead of seeing a beau- 
tiful young girl with a slim figure, as you 
picture her to yourself, you meet a fat, ugly 
woman, what will you do?" 

He laughed at the idea. '^But I have seen 
her in the street and she is slim. And I 
know she is pretty — my heart tells me so." 

Lovers seem to be the same everywhere, 
even though they are Turkish lovers, sup- 
posed by us to be devoid of romantic rap- 
tures; and though I stayed some time with 
Halil Bey, we talked of nothing except the 
girl who was to become his first and — as he 
vowed — his only wife. 

When I returned to the house several of 
its inmates shook their fingers at me and 
sang in chorus, '^I saw you!" But the 

i6i 



.JJUL^A^ 



Valide put a protecting arm around me, and 
— looking around for the effect it would pro- 
duce — impressively gave me this invitation : 

'* Yavroum, Selim Pasha wishes me to beg 
of you to do him the honor to dine to-night 
with him and his guests." 

It was my turn to shake my fingers at 
the Turkish women, as I challenged them: 
''Those who do not admit that they would 
give anything to be in my wooden sandals, 
let them raise their hands ! " 

Not a hand was raised, though they might 
have debated the point further, had not 
Houlme run her arm through mine and in- 
terrupted with: ''Young Hanoum, the sun 
does not favor those who travel many hours 
after he has started his journey. Let us 
start. We have a long way before us, and 
the day I know will prove interesting." 

In my room I was surprised to find a new 
tchitcharf of silver-gray silk. "What is this 
for?" I asked Houlme. 

"You cannot go to the meeting unless 
162 



.jjULo/£> 



you have this color on. It is the emblem of 
dawn, the dawn we are about to bring to the 
Turkish women's life." 

A few minutes later Houlme and I, in com- 
pany with an old slave inside the carriage 
with us, and an old eunuch, who was the 
shadow of Houlme, sitting on the box by the 
coachman, were driving to Hanoum Zeybah's 
house, where the meeting was to be held. 
It was half-past ten o'clock when we reached 
there, and we were the last to arrive. Inside 
the door stood two gray phantoms, to whom 
we gave the password, ^'Twilight." 

In a large hall stood the rest of the gray 
symbols of dawn, all so closely veiled as to 
be unrecognizable. Without a sound they 
saluted us in the Turkish fashion; and then 
we were all conducted to a large room. It 
was very mysterious and conspirator-like. 
The nine windows of the room were tightly 
shuttered, that no ray of unromantic sun- 
light should fall upon the forerunners of a 
new epoch. We all sat crosslegged and mo- 

163 



tionless on a bare settee which ran around 
two sides of the room. Over our heads hung 
a banner of sky-blue silk, embroidered in 
silver with ''Freedom for Women !^^ Beneath 
that hung another of black, bearing the 
words ''Down with the Old Ideas T^ in fiery- 
red. There were no chairs. The beautiful 
oak floor was partially covered with Eastern 
rugs, and on some fat cushions in the middle 
of the room sat our hostess, the originator 
and president of the society. 

President Zeybah clapped her hands three 
times and announced that the meeting was 
about to begin. It did begin, and continued 
for more than an hour. 

The president produced a manuscript with 
gilt edges from a European satchel at her 
side, and read her contribution to the club. 

*' Women, fellow - sufferers, and fellow- 
workers," she read ^^we come here to-day to 
dig a little farther into the thick wall which 
the tyranny of man has built about us. By 
nature woman was meant to be the ruler. 

164 



By her intuition, her sympathy, her unself- 
ishness, her maternal instinct, she is the 
greatest of the earth. One thing alone brute 
nature gave to man — strength ! Through 
that he has subjugated woman. Let us rise 
and break our bonds! Let us stand up en 
masse and defy the brute who now domi- 
nates us! We are the givers of life; we must 
be the rulers and lawmakers as well. Down 
with man!" 

In this strain, and in a deep voice befitting 
a ruler and a lawmaker, the president read 
from her gilt-edged paper, and ended up 
with the proposition that six members of the 
club should be chosen by lot to kill them- 
selves, as a protest against the existing order 
of things. The proposition, which was made 
in all seriousness, provided, however, — with 
a naivete that might have imperilled the 
gravity of a meeting of American women, — 
that the president of the club should be ex- 
empt from participation in the lot-draw- 
ing. 

165 



_iJUL2>i> 



This plan for making tyrant man sit up 
and take notice was received with a murmur 
from the veiled listeners, rather more of ap- 
proval than of disapproval. The question, 
however, was not discussed further at the 
moment, and the president called on another 
lady to read her paper. 

The first speaker having proved that wo- 
men were great and were only kept from 
recognition by the brute force of man, the 
second one went ahead to prove that women 
were capable of doing as good work as men 
in certain cases, by citing George Sand, 
George Eliot, and others. A third one as- 
serted that women were mere playthings in 
the hands of men, and called on them to 
rouse themselves and show that they were 
capable of being something better. 

I was utterly disgusted at the whole meet- 
ing. I might just as well have been in one 
of those silly clubs in New York where 
women congregate to read their immature 
compositions. There were totally lacking the 

i66 



JJJisJJ=> 



sincerity, the spontaneity, and the frankness 
which usually characterize Turkish women. 

When the meeting adjourned, we passed 
into several dressing-rooms, where the veiled 
and secret conspirators against the dominion 
of man all kept luncheon gowns. When the 
assemblage came together again, the majority 
of them were corseted and in Paris frocks, 
and all were quite unveiled, the mystery of 
the meeting having been mere pretense and 
affectation. These forty-odd women, rang- 
ing in age from seventeen to forty, were 
drawn from the flower of the Turkish aris- 
tocracy. Luncheon was served in a large 
room overlooking the Golden Horn. We 
were seated at four round tables, and during 
the meal the great cause was forgotten, and 
they were again spontaneous Turkish wo- 
men. 

After luncheon we passed into the reclin- 
ing room, where Eastern dances and music 
were given for our pleasure. I was happy 
to notice that as we lay about on the couches, 

167 



the Parisian-gowned ladies were distinctly 
less comfortable than the rest of us. After 
the music was over, the heavy conversation 
was started again by our hostess, who was 
never happy for long unless she considered 
that she was shining intellectually. She was 
not yet thirty, but had found time already 
to divorce two husbands. 

^^What I like most about American wo- 
men," she said to me and to her disciples, ''is 
the courage they have in discarding their 
husbands. Why should a woman continue 
to live with a man whom she finds to be not 
her intellectual companion ? " Her pose was 
fine, as she uttered these words, and mur- 
murs of appreciation arose among her hearers. 

''Few men are women's companions in- 
tellectually," I said, having listened to as 
much as I could without replying "The 
only men who are the companions of intel- 
lectual women are half-baked poets, sopho- 
mores, and degenerates. Normal men, nice 
men, intelligent men, never talk the tomfool- 

i68 



ery women want to talk about. They are 
too busy with things worth while to sit down 
and ponder over the gyrations of their souls. 
In fact, they don't have to worry over their 
souls at all. They are strong and healthy, 
and live their useful lives without taking time 
to store their heads with all the nonsense 
women do." 

Those forty women breathed heavily. To 
them I represented freedom and intellect- 
ual advancement, and here I was smashing 
their ideals unmercifully. I pretended not 
to notice the efifect of my words, and con- 
tinued : — 

**If you expect real men of any nationality 
to sit down and talk to you about your souls, 
you will find them disappointing. As for 
American women, they are as different from 
you as a dog from a bird. Whatever they do 
cannot affect you. They are a different stock 
altogether. Will you tell me what you are 
working for specifically?" 

''Freedom to chose our husbands, and 

169 



-JjUU>i> 



freedom to go about with men as we like," 
the president answered. 

''We want to go about the world unchap- 
eroned and free — to travel all over the world 
if we choose," another answered. 

The last speaker was a girl barely eight- 
een years old, and beautiful with a beauty 
the East alone can produce. I laughed 
openly. 

"My dear child," I said, ''you could not 
go alone for half a day without having all 
sorts of things happening to you." 

"But that is just what I want," she re- 
torted. "I am tired of my humdrum life, 
when such delicious things as one reads of 
in books might be happening to me." 

This girl in her youth and simplicity was 
really revealing the cause of their malady. 
They were all fed on French novels. 

"Even American women, when they are 
young, do not go about with men unchap- 
eroned as you think," I said, "nor do they 
travel alone with men, at any age. Of course 

170 



there are American women who are com- 
pelled to go about alone a good deal, because 
they are earning their own living; but they 
only do this because they have to. As to 
what Zeybah Hanoum said about their di- 
vorcing their husbands frequently, I am 
afraid she is looking at American civilization 
from the seamy side. I do not deny that 
there are American women who have parted 
with decency, and whom one divorce more 
or less does not affect; but the really nice 
American women have as much horror of 
divorce as any well-bred European woman." 
Zeybah Hanoum here interrupted me. ^^I 
beg your pardon, but I have read in the 
American papers that a woman may divorce 
her husband in the morning, and marry 
again in the afternoon. Also, that no other 
reason for divorce is required than that she 
does not wish to continue to live with him. 
It is called 'incompatibility of temper.' I 
believe" — here the learned lady threw back 
her head, and turned to the rest of her audi- 

171 



ence — ^' that a nation that has such laws has 
them not for those who have parted with 
decency, but for the nice women, in order to 
help them to rid themselves of undesirable 
husbands. I hear that the courts proclaim 
that a woman may not only get rid of her 
husband, but that the husband shall continue 
to support her. Can you tell me after that 
that America does not uphold divorce?" 

I was rather staggered by her argument, 
although I knew that fundamentally she was 
mistaken. 

^^What you say is true, in a way," I ad- 
mitted; ^^but the fact remains that nice 
American women do not believe in indis- 
criminate divorcing." 

'' Oh, well, there are always backward wo- 
men in every country. I was told by an 
American lady, once, that not to be divorced 
nowadays was the exception. And wait till 
the women have the power to vote. That is 
the one thing the American men are afraid 
to grant women, because they know that 
172 



.^OU/^ 



then women will make laws to suit them- 
selves." 

I did not ask Zeybah Hanoum how much 
farther women could go, with the ballot, than 
she thought they already had gone, in the 
home of the free. I was very sorry for the 
women who were under her influence, be- 
cause most of them were young and all of 
them inexperienced, so I took up another side 
of the subject. 

^^ Let's leave American women alone then, 
since you will only believe the yellow journal- 
ism, and come to your own affairs. Do you 
really think that by having six women kill 
themselves you will accomplish anything?" 

*' At any rate, we shall teach men a lesson." 

^^And that is?" 

"That we are capable of going to any 
lengths to get what we want. Woman is a 
power to-day!" 

"But do you think you can bring about 
what you want by violent methods? There 
are a great many among your men who be- 

173 



lieve that women should be free to choose 
their husbands, and to educate themselves 
as they like. So far you have been given 
privileges in studying music and art. Little 
by little other things will come. But remem- 
ber, that to one woman who thinks as you do 
there are a hundred who don't.'' 

'^They are blind, and we wish to open their 
eyes. It is our duty — in the name of hu- 
manity. We owe this to the Progress of the 
World," Zeybah announced oratorically. 

*^ Since you have descended to Duty," I 
said with some heat, ^^I suppose you are 
capable of anything cruel and unkind." 

At this point a lady — a visitor, like me — 
who was an instructress in a girls' seminary, 
though she was the daughter of a rich man, 
quietly put in: '^Zeybah Hanoum, I should 
like to hear the lady tell us how she thinks it 
would be wise to proceed. She knows our 
ways, what privileges we now have, and our 
shortcomings." 

*'Yes, yes," several voices cried. 

174 



*^ Since you do not like your system, — al- 
though it seems to me admirable on the 
whole, — it is only right that you should be 
allowed to live your lives as you want to. 
Only you must go about it in a sensible way, 
and take into consideration the others who 
are involved in it. For example, I should 
think that you ought to tear down that ban- 
ner of ' Down with the Old Ideas ! ' and put 
up another, reading: * Respect for the Old 
Ideas, Freedom to the New ! ' Then, instead 
of closeting yourselves together and behaving 
like imitation French Anarchists, you ought 
to have your meetings in the open. Since you 
all wear your veils, you can invite the men 
who are sympathetic to your movement, to 
take an interest in it. Little by little, more 
men will come, and also more women. 
Really, your troubles are not so serious as 
those of European women, because under 
the laws of the Koran women have many 
privileges unheard of in other countries. The 
Mussulman system is very socialistic. What 

175 



^01*^^ 



you want is to be free to mingle with men. 
Since you want it, you had better have it, 
though you are overrating the privilege. 
There is a great deal of poetry and a great 
deal of charm in your system; but if you 
don't like it, you don't like it. You will all 
be mothers some day ; bring up your sons in 
the new thought, and thus gradually you will 
bring about the change." 

^^But you are spoiling our society," the 
president cried. ''What is the object of it if 
not to push things along fast?" 

*'I do not agree with you," the quiet lady 
said. '' I believe in what the foreign Hanoum 
has just said. We ought to go about this in a 
rational manner." 

'' Do I understand that you do not approve 
of our association?" the president asked, 
bristling up. 

''Not in the least; but I do not believe in 
the bloody demonstration you proposed." 

Thereupon arose a discussion which lasted 
the whole afternoon. The president was 

176 



vehemently in favor of her plan for having 
six of the members kill themselves. Most of 
the others, however, encouraged by the 
moral support they received from me and 
from the quiet lady, finally admitted that 
they did not wish to die. Yet that they would 
unhesitatingly have committed suicide, had 
the club decided on the plan, and had the lot 
fallen to them, I have not the slightest doubt, 
knowing the nature of Turkish women as 
I do. 

Just as the meeting was breaking up I was 
very much surprised to have Houlme come 
to me and ask me if I should like to meet the 
young woman whom Halil Bey was to marry 
in two weeks. I had had no inkling that she 
was at the meeting, or even that she held ad- 
vanced views. Naturally I was most anxious 
to know her, and as it happened that we were 
going a good part of the way home in the 
same direction, she invited me to drive with 
her in her brougham until we came to the 
parting of the ways. She was a very pretty 

177 



brunette, with large violet eyes, and such a 
lovely, kissable mouth — but what a pri- 
cieuse ! 

*^I suppose you are very busy over your 
coming marriage," I said to her. 

**My marriage interests me very little, 
mademoiselle,'' she replied coldly. **In fact, 
I think of it as little as possible. It is not a 
love-match, you know, but an arranged af- 
fair." 

'' But your future husband is young, hand- 
some, and a well-educated nobleman. I feel 
certain that you will find in him your ideal." 

''Indeed!" she snapped. ''So you think 
that all a man has to have, to be acceptable 
to a young woman, is youth, good looks, and 
education?" 

"What else?" 

"A beautiful mind," she said, as pom- 
pously as Zeybah Hanoum herself might have 
spoken. "I wish my husband to understand 
the world of Kant and Schopenhauer and all 
the great thinkers. I wish him to treat me 

178 



^yu 



as if I, too, had a mind capable of soaring 
above the sordid conditions of our daily life. 
Do you think, when I am married, that I am 
likely to find in Halil Bey a man to speak to 
me on these subjects? No! he will tell me that 
I am beautiful, and that he loves me. As if 
his paltry love mattered in this great world." 

"I should think it would matter to him, 
and to you." 

^^ Excuse me, mademoiselle, but are you 
not taking rather a commonplace view of 
happiness?" 

*' Perhaps I am. But I might learn to ap- 
preciate a high-minded one if it were ex- 
plained to me." 

"I should like a husband who would forget 
his petty personality, and me as well; who 
would realize that the greatest love of all is 
intellectual companionship. The other kind 
of love is good enough for the inferior class of 
people, whose only participation in the great 
world is their part in the perpetuation of the 
race." 

179 



''How do you know that your future hus- 
band is not animated by the same noble ideas 
as you are?" I asked, though I had no such 
hope myself. 

''Quite impossible! Our men are incapa- 
ble of appreciating such high ideals of life, 
since they allow their women so little free- 
dom." 

By the time I parted from Halil Bey's 
fiancee I was so filled up with high ideals that 
if Houlm^ Hanoum had talked any more in 
the same line I should have gone mad. " Poor 
Halil Bey!" I kept thinking to myself. 

Once home I had to rush to my room to 
get ready to dine with the men. The Valide 
followed me. 

" Yavrouniy what will you wear to-night?" 

"Dear me! I have not had time to think 
of that. I have not a dinner gown with me. 
I suppose a little white lawn will have to 
do." 

"I have thought all about it, and I have 
several gowns for you to choose from. As 

i8o 



JJ1^JJ=> 



soon as your bath has been given to you, 
come to me.'' 

In her apartment I found a bevy of women 
all anxious to help in my attiring. Of all the 
beautiful clothes displayed the choice fell on 
a lovely brocade which the Valide had worn 
in years gone by. With the help of the wives 
and several of their slaves, and with jewelry 
enough to start a goldsmith's shop, I was 
made ready for the extraordinary occasion. 
When they were through with me I looked as 
if I were for sale, and said so. 

*^I do hope, yavroum,^^ the Valide said 
piously, ''that you will find your master 
there." 

^^ Allah bayouk!^^ murmured several wo- 
men, with bowed heads. 

The Valide conducted me to the mabeyn, 
or dividing line between the haremlik and 
selamlik, where Selim Pasha himself was 
waiting for me, arrayed in his uniform. The 
rest of the guests were in European clothes, 
and after the introductions were over, I told 

i8i 



them that a few of them at least would have 
to approach the Valide for my hand, other- 
wise she might fear that she had not done all 
in her power to make me charming. 

The dinner was a very interesting one; in- 
deed, I believe it was the most interesting one 
I have ever been to. Contrary to the opinion 
of most people who do not know them, the 
Turks are very attractive men. They are 
frank, chivalrous, and above all, considerate 
to women. They also possess a keen sense of 
humor, and enjoy a joke even at their own 
expense. They are good talkers, and pretty 
well informed. 

Though it was after eleven o'clock when I 
returned to the haremlik, all the ladies and 
slaves were sitting up to see me return from 
the remarkable adventure of dining with a 
dozen men. 

'*Well, yavroum?^^ the Valide said. 

''Oh! I think some of them will ask you 
for my hand. Don't you worry, Valide." 

She was beaming with happiness. 

182 



"And Valide," I said, after a little more 
talk, ''not to trouble you again, I asked Selim 
Pasha if I might speak to Halil Bey again to- 
morrow morning' in the garden, and he gave 
me permission. And since my engagement 
with him is at half-past eight, I think I will 
wish you good-night." 

The next morning, though I was on time 
in the garden, I found Halil Bey already 
there, and very impatient to hear all about 
his fiancee. 

''Tell me," he cried out, as soon as we had 
shaken hands, "is she beautiful?" 

"Very," I answered; "but, my poor boy, 
she is crazy over Kant and Schopenhauer." 

"Who are they?" he bellowed, thunder 
in his voice and fire in his eyes. "Tell me 
quick, and I will draw every drop of blood 
from their veins." 

"I have no doubt that in a fist-to-fist en- 
counter you would have the best of them, but 
they are both dead and gone, and only their 
miserable books are left to fight against." 

183 



^'Oh!" he laughed, ^Ms that all? I think 
I can take care of that." 

It was my turn to laugh. ''Halil Bey, you 
have read Xyrano de Bergerac'?" 

He nodded. 

'^ You remember what Christian answered 
when Cyrano was trying to coach him: *Et 
par tous les diables, je saurais toujours la 
prendre entre mes bras.^ It did not work 
however. Now, if you want to be happy, 
listen to me! Devote your time from now 
till your marriage-day to those two writers. 
Memorize as much of them as you can. 
When your bride comes home, and you raise 
her veil and see her face, be a Spartan. 
Don't make love to her; don't tell her that 
she is beautiful. Just talk Kant, recite Scho- 
penhauer, and give her every kind of tom- 
foolery about your soul that you can think 
of, provided it sounds highfaluting enough. 
Buy all the works of Maeterlinck and make 
her read them to you till she is ready to drop. 
Tell her that she is to remain for you the ideal 

184 



.D^jsj^ 



companion, the complement of your soul, 
and any other silly thing that comes into 
your head. She will help you along; for she 
has all that at the tip of her tongue. Before 
a month is over, she will be sick of it and 
crazy for you. Then fire ahead and make 
love to her as much as you want to." 

Halil Bey looked anything but enthusiastic 
over the course I had mapped out for him; 
so I had to repeat most of the conversation 
I had had with his unknown lady-love. 

**I am going to Russia soon,'' I ended. ''I 
shall be back in about six weeks. Come to 
my hotel then and tell me all about it." 

To leave Selim Pasha's household for a 
minute: other events more important to me 
had quite driven Halil Bey and his fiancee 
from my mind before I returned from Russia. 
I was getting ready to sail for America when 
Halil Bey came to see me. 

'* Hallo, Boy!" I said. '^How is the 
pr^cieuse?^^ 

i8s 



"She is dead!" he answered simply. 

I stared at him. ^^Halil! you have not 
killed her?" 

"Not I, but Kant and the other fellow did. 
And now hurry up ; I want you to come and 
see my little wife. She is waiting for you." 

In less than an hour our carriage brought 
us to Halil Bey's residence, where a very 
charming hostess was waiting. She threw 
her arms around my neck and kissed me. 

"Mademoiselle, I think you are a happi- 
ness-giver." 

"And don't you think that his love and 
your love matter a little in this world?" 

"It is the only thing that does matter," 
she answered, while her violet eyes were 
looking, not at me but at Halil Bey. 

But to return to the Suffragettes. The most 
noticeable thing about them was that they 
were attracted only by the worst features of 
our Western civilization. It was my opin- 
ion at that time — although recent political 
i86 



events do not seem to have borne me out — 
that Turkey would be better off without any 
influx of European thought. 

That the Turks gain nothing from the 
missionaries we send them is still my firm 
belief. To begin with, we send them men 
who are ignorant of the history of Turkey, 
as of the nature of the Turk, men who are 
narrow and bigoted. Two of these mission- 
aries, who had for three years been in Asia 
Minor, came home in the same steamer with 
me. They were of different sects, and were 
not on speaking terms with each other. 

I was talking with one of them, and found 
that he hated the Turks as heartily as the 
Master whose gospel he had gone out to 
teach commanded us to love one another. 
There was nothing too bad for him to say 
about their morals and their religion. I 
asked him if he understood Turkish. 

'^No, indeed, I do not. I find their lan- 
guage very much like the people." 

How did he manage to talk with the Turks ? 

187 



*^I had an interpreter, an Armenian who 
was a convert of mine," he explained com- 
placently. 

^' What was he before you converted him ? " 
I asked, amused. The man was too small to 
be angry with. 

*^He was an Armenian, naturally," he an- 
swered sharply. 

''I thought Armenians were Christians," 
I ventured. 

*'0h, well, their Christianity does not 
amount to much. We have to teach them the 
real meaning of the Saviour's words." 

*^ Brotherly love and tolerance?" I in- 
quired, thinking of the other missionary 
aboard. I received no reply to this, and 
presently asked: ''Did you get to know 
many Turks?" 

''No. They avoided us as if we went there 
to do them harm. I knew some fishermen 
and vendors. I only hope that the example 
of our cleanly lives will help some of them; 
for we can never preach to them: they will 
i88 



not come to hear us. I shall write a book on 
Turkey as soon as I am rested.'' 

He was a fair average specimen of the 
class of men who go to Turkey to educate 
and uplift her. With few exceptions these 
missionaries are even ignorant of the fact 
that Turkey is a country with a great past, 
and with a literature of its own comparable 
to that of Greece. 

The most discouraging thing about Turkey 
is that, while the old-fashioned Turk is a 
man on whose integrity you may depend, 
as soon as a Turk becomes Europeanized 
he loses his own good qualities, without ob- 
taining those of the West — exactly as the 
American Indian does. He is so vitally dif- 
ferent from us, and his mind is so naif and 
unspoiled, that the result of contact with our 
sophisticated thought is very harmful. I 
agree with Houlme that Turkey ought to 
work out her own salvation. When she does, 
I do not believe that she will be found be- 
hind any Christian state, on account of the 

189 



.ilUL£>«» 



cardinal virtues which the Turkish race pos- 
sesses. Her rehgion has as sublime thoughts 
as ours. That it has kept the race practically 
abstainers from drink for nearly twenty 
centuries testifies to its strength. 

In my enthusiasm for Turkey I do not 
wish to be understood as implying that Tur- 
key is perfect, or that all her customs are 
beyond reproach, or that the Turks do not 
need ** elevating." On the contrary, there 
are many things about them which to me are 
hateful, and which I cannot reconcile with 
their good qualities. One incident which I 
witnessed in Selim Pasha's household, just 
before I left it, makes me shudder even now 
when I happen to think of it. It concerned 
the pasha's eldest son and his wife, for whose 
arrival I had been invited to remain a few 
days longer. 



VIII 

THE LOVE OF NOR-SEMBAH AND 
HAKIF BEY 

On the day of their arrival we rose earlier 
than usual to help decorate the house. Roses 
and lilacs in great quantities were sent in by 
numerous households of the vicinity. The 
old family brocades were thrown over the 
chairs. Silk rugs were gracing the balus- 
trades and bannisters. Big branches of 
leaves decorated the walls of the vestibule, 
while pots of gay flowers placed on either 
side of the staircase added to the generally 
festive appearance of the house. Also, all the 
members of the household, from the Valide 
to the most insignificant slave, were dressed 
in gala costume. 

Immediately after the midday meal, and in 
spite of the heat, while Selim Pasha's other 
two wives and I, with their slaves, were drink- 

191 



ing cooling drinks, dressed in the thinnest of 
garments, the Valide and Djimlah and sev- 
eral of their slaves took their seats in the large 
springless carriage, made comfortable with 
soft cushions, and went to meet the expected 
members of the family. 

A few hours later the young wife was 
brought to the house, not in the springless 
wagon, nor yet in a brougham, but in a sedan 
chair. The surprise I felt at this was greatly 
increased by the sight of the young man 
whom I rightly took to be her husband, walk- 
ing in the heat by the side of her chair, bare- 
headed, his fez in his hand, almost as if he 
were following the dead. I had known that 
the young wife was ill, but the festive air of 
the household had deceived me, even though 
I knew the Turkish custom of putting on their 
gayest attire at the death of their dear ones. 
Yet on the countenance of this fezless youth 
there could be no dissimulation of his sorrow. 

Though we were all quite anxious to see 
the young wife, whose beauty was renowned, 

192 



.liXsjS:' 



we had to be content with the announcement 
that she would see some of us on the morrow. 

That evening, when I went into Djimlah's 
apartment, I found her nursing the young 
baby of Nor-Sembah Hanoum, and heard 
her murmuring these words: "You poor 
little fading blossom, you dear bedraggled 
lamb, they even forget you, do they ? I will 
be mother to you, little blossom of Allah." 

I sat quietly waiting till the slave should 
come to take away the baby, after it should 
be fed, knowing the superstition Turkish wo- 
men have about being distracted when they 
are performing this duty of motherhood. 

''Djimlah," I asked, when she was at lib- 
erty to talk to me, *^why were you nursing 
that baby? Is the mother very ill indeed?" 

"111!" Djimlah cried; "she is dying. He 
is killing her." 

"Who is killing her?" I asked. 

Djimlah's big blue eyes looked at me in 
surprise and wonder. "Did not the Validd 
tell you?" 

193 



"No." 

''Then I must tell you everything from the 
beginning so that you may understand it 
right. Hakif Bey — that is the Valide's son — 
met Nor-Sembah when she was visiting the 
Valide, who is a distant relative of her mo- 
ther's. At that time, although she was four- 
teen and had already taken Icharchaf, which 
made her a woman, she was so frail and child- 
like that one was apt to regard her as not 
grown up. Besides, Hakif Bey had always 
been absolutely indifferent to women, and 
no one thought any harm could happen if he 
came into his mother's apartments, as he had 
always been in the habit of doing. He was 
devoted to the Valide, and his greatest plea- 
sure was to spend an hour reading to her or 
talking with her. In these meetings he met 
Nor-Sembah and fell so violently in love with 
her that the Valide had to keep the child day 
and night by her side, for fear of his stealing 
her and making her his own. It was a very 
difficult task, since Nor-Sembah was also 

194 



in love with Hakif and quite hard to man- 
age." 

''But why didn't they marry?" I asked. 
''Was Hakif too young?" 

"No, indeed; he was seventeen. The ob- 
jection was Nor-Sembah's delicate health. 
She had inherited weak lungs from her fam- 
ily, and her mother and the Valide did not 
think it wise to let her marry so young. They 
managed to send Hakif away to Asia Minor 
in an important position, — for Hakif is very 
clever and very learned, — and promised 
him that at the end of a year he could have 
his bride. I think what kept him quiet for 
the year was not so much that his position 
demanded all his attention, — though he 
acquitted himself brilliantly and the Sultan 
praised him very much, — as the feverish 
preparations he made to have a home for 
his bride. He had a lovely mansion built, 
with a bath-house as pretty as that of his 
mother's. He not only furnished the house, 
but sent to Circassia and bought beautiful 

195 



.JJJiPys> 



slaves and dancing girls. Being the first son, 
Selim Pasha gave him a handsome allow- 
ance, besides what he made as governor. So 
fervently did he work that at the end of the 
year everything was ready. Meanwhile the 
Valid^ and Nor-Sembah's mother did all they 
could to make the girl strong. But she was 
always the same, and the doctor said that, in 
addition to her illness, the child was lovesick; 
so when, at the end of the year, Hakif was 
here claiming her, they married them. You 
ought to have seen him when he arrived. He 
was like a hungry wolf. They could hardly 
keep him out of the haremlik. 

^* Many months passed after they married 
and went to Asia Minor, but not a word was 
heard from them; and finally Selim Pasha 
himself went there to find out what was hap- 
pening. When he came back, he said — 
though he does not give his opinions often — 
that * the children were loving each other too 
much to think of Allah or parents.' You 
know, yavroum, it is not right that mortals 

196 



should love so fiercely. Evil spirits get jeal- 
ous and cast the evil eye.'' Thus said Djim- 
lah, educated in Western literature, yet in her 
heart as Eastern as any. *'If he had loved 
her less she might have found strength in his 
love, instead of death. When word came 
that Nor-Sembah was blessed with Allah's 
greetings and was about to be a mother, there 
were tears and cries in two households; for 
the doctor had said that a child would mean 
death to the frail mother. Nor-Sembah's 
father was wild, because she was his only 
daughter, and he loved her as one loves the 
blood of one's veins. He stormed and raged 
and insisted that Nor-Sembah be brought 
right back to him. But that was impossible, 
since Nor-Sembah could not be moved ; and 
besides, for nothing in the world would Hakif 
allow any one to be near her. Zafar Pasha 
— that is her father — took the doctors that 
Hakif had sent to Constantinople for and went 
with them to Asia, and insisted that after the 
child was born she should be brought here. 

197 



'* Young people are crazy!" Djimlah, of 
twenty-four years' experience, interrupted 
her story to exclaim with scornful emphasis. 
'^Do you know that both Nor-Sembah and 
Hakif grudge every minute they give to any 
one except each other? She does not even 
look at her child. One would say that the 
glorious sun rises and sets in Hakif Bey." 

" But would it not have been better for the 
girl to have stayed at home, since she had 
good medical treatment?" I asked. 

'' It might, if they could have been trusted," 
Djimlah answered; ^^but they were brought 
here because they are going to be separated." 

^'What?" I almost screamed. 

^'Yes," Dijmlah said quietly, ''they are 
going to separate them, and I am going to 
take care of the child and nurse it with my 
little one." 

''To separate them simply because they 
love each other," I repeated, horrified; "why, 
it is inhuman." 

For the first time during my sojourn in the 

198 



harems I had to face Oriental barbarism. I 
almost hated them, and the laws that gave to 
parents such power over their children. 

'^ It may seem inhuman to you, but it is the 
only human thing to do, under the circum- 
stances," Djimlah went on, unruffled. ^^ When 
a man does not know how to love his wife, 
then the parents have to come in and teach 
him. Anyway, Nor-Sembah was born to be 
a fairy, a lily, not a wife. She is a woman's 
breath, not a real woman. Allah, one spring 
day, must have made a beautiful dream, and 
out of that vision must have come Nor-Sem- 
bah ; but she was never created for the earth. 
She is so wonderful that you want to pray 
before her. Wait till you see her, you who 
worship beauty, and who think that Aishe 
Hanoum and I are beautiful." 

"But, Djimlah, dear, will he consent to the 
separation?" 

''He will have to. They are going to make 
him marry a widow slave of about thirty-five. 
Word has been sent out already to the vari- 

199 



JJ1pjJ=> 



ous harems, and by to-morrow pretty slaves 
will be coming in." 

''But it might kill Nor-Sembah to have 
him take another wife, since she, too, is so 
much in love with him." 

"No, indeed, because she knows that it is 
only a temporary marriage. At the end of a 
year Hakif will be separated from the slave, 
giving her a stipulated sum of money, and 
then he will again be given back his wife — 
stronger by that time, let us hope. That is 
why they give him a woman of about thirty- 
five, so that there will be no children to make 
the marriage binding." 

''And will he consent to this most Oriental 
of arrangements?" I could not help asking. 

"He will have to," was the decisive reply. 
" Everything is arranged. He will either have 
to do this, or his marriage will be annulled. 
The old people have seen to everything." 

I was so much disgusted that I could 
hardly keep from telling Djimlah what I 
thought of the whole arrangement. 
200 



"Don't be a sentimental fool, little blos- 
som," she adjured me. " What the old people 
want to do is to save her and him, if they can. 
Besides, he must learn to love his wife for her 
— not for himself alone, as he is doing now." 

That night I had the most distressing 
nightmares. Now I dreamed that I was Nor- 
Sembah, and again that I was the slave, and 
sometimes I was both in one. I never wel- 
comed the daylight with more pleasure than I 
did the next morning. At the same time, I 
felt for the first time in my relations with the 
Turks that I was glad not to be one of them. 

I was very impatient to see the girl about 
whose happiness I was so much concerned. 
After I had had my bath and breakfast, 
Kondj^ told me in a semi-whisper that the 
Valid^ invited me to go to her sitting-room. 

"Is Hanoum Nor-Sembah there?" I 
asked. 

Kondje put her brownish hands to her 
breast and exclaimed: "Oh! honored Ha- 
noum, how you will love her ! you, who, like 

20I 



,ZJUU>i> 



us, love beautiful people so much." She 
opened her eyes wide, as if to accentuate what 
she was going to say next, and extended her 
hands upwards as she did when in prayer. 
'' She is a white jasmine ! She is the morning 
dew on the roses ! She is Allah's own prayer ! " 
Kondje was really so moved at the thought 
of Nor-Sembah's beauty that she was trem- 
bling. 

I went down to the garden and carefully 
chose the prettiest rose I could find, and 
with my little offering went into the sitting- 
room. 

The Valide rose from her seat near the girl 
and came over to greet me. First she pre- 
sented me to the girPs mother, then to the 
girl herself, lying on her couch, and then to 
Hakif Bey, who was sitting by the side of his 
wife, holding her hand. 

I went to the couch, took one of the young 
woman's hands, and kissed it, giving her my 
rose. She smiled at me, without saying a 
word. I took a seat near her, and do what I 

202 



could, it was impossible for me not to stare at 
her. Djimlah had said the truth, the child 
seemed to be of divine origin. Her beauty 
was quite unearthly. I could see how one 
could become mad for love of her, though 
she was not really a woman even now, being 
undeveloped, like a child. Standing up she 
would probably have been taller than the 
average, but lying on her couch she looked so 
fairy-like, so frail! Her skin was so trans- 
parent that her veins showed in fine blue 
lines. Her eyes were very large and almond- 
shaped, and shaded by jet black lashes. Her 
nose and mouth were of pure Greek model- 
ling — indeed, there was not one flaw to be 
found in her appearance. She was dressed in 
a soft brocade of cream color, embroidered in 
pale blue flowers. 

Though I knew that she was quite ill 
there was nothing of the sick person about 
her. Her gown was cut low at the neck in 
V-form, displaying her delicate throat, which 
was like the stem of a flower, as the Valid6 

203 



JJXpjJ:^ 



put it. Her wavy, blue-black hair, in two 
long braids, lay on her breast. 

The longer I looked at her the more I real- 
ized that what really made her so beautiful 
was neither her wonderful skin nor the ex- 
quisite modelling of her face, but a flower- 
like candor, and an indescribable purity that 
emanated from her whole personality. 

It has always been a mystery to me that the 
Turks, who can produce such types of purity 
as we can hardly conceive of in our Western 
civilization, should be supposed by us to be 
voluptuous and sensual. Quite often, in look- 
ing at certain children of the Latin and Anglo- 
Saxon races, I find myself wondering what 
kind of love could have given them birth, so 
animal-like are they in expression and de- 
portment. With the ordinary Turkish child 
it is quite different. Often on meeting a 
group of them, and especially of little girls, 
I have stopped and watched them with plea- 
sure, because they looked so pure, so simple, 
above all so childlike. 

204 



-ZUfi.;^ 



One day when I was wondering on this 
subject, I asked the Valide, with whom I 
happened to be, whether the children re- 
flected the fathers or the mothers more. 

''A child is neither its father nor its mo- 
ther,'' she answered me. 'Xhildren are 
either the products of the highest type of love 
— a divine conception almost — or of an in- 
tellectual love almost as high; or else they 
are mere animal creations, or, lower yet, the 
results of evil and voluptuous desires." 

The Latin races will talk of the sexual rela- 
tion of men and women in a way to take from 
it all sanctity, all poetry, all romance. The 
Anglo-Saxons seldom touch on the subject, 
for it is something not to be mentioned. The 
high-minded Oriental, differing from both, 
will speak of it freely, either with reverence, 
as one does of religion, or with poetic feeling, 
as one does of the coming of the spring or 
the babbling of the brook. It is to him either 
big and overwhelming, as one's faith toward 
one's God, or lighter, but very exquisite. 

205 



.JJULg,^£> 



The Valide, that day, while we sat amid 
the pine trees, spoke about human love with 
a mysticism and reverence as if she were in 
the presence of the great Allah in whom she 
believed so fervently. Whether her ideas were 
taken from some Eastern book or belief of 
which I had never heard, or whether they 
were her own, I do not know. 

"When two human beings come together, 
yavroum, some motive brings them together. 
Generally the motive is love; but love, like 
every other thing in life, has its degrees. The 
highest of all is the unconscious offering of 
one's heart, not to the man or the woman as an 
individual, but to the man or woman as the 
earthly incarnation of the deity of love. This 
is the highest love, and the children that 
spring from that love must be perfect. This 
must have been the way we were first created, 
and the mortal sin which our ancestors com- 
mitted, I believe, was when they forgot this 
conception of love and degraded what was 
once a divine conception into a mere physical 

206 



relation. However, I believe that we still 
retain the divine spark within us, and that 
it may be rekindled, and that the children 
born from such a perfect love are our perfect 
human beings. Such a birth must have had 
our prophet, and your prophet, and all the 
prophets that have lived in the history of the 
world. 

'*But the majority of people marry from 
motives other than the highest love. If these 
motives be social or mercenary, the children 
born from such unions are the indifferent hu- 
man beings one sees. There are motives even 
baser, and from these we have the moral and 
physical cripples. Perhaps this thought may 
have been in the minds of the ancient Greeks 
when they condemned the physically crippled 
children to death. The moral cripples they 
could not know till they grew up." 

This conversation with the Validd came 
back to me as I was looking in speechless 
admiration at the exquisite beauty of Nor- 
Sembah. From my revery the sick girl's voice 

207 



awakened me. It was the voice one might 
have expected from such a perfect creature. 

*^The Valide tells me that if I ask you, you 
will read me a little of the French poetry." 

From under her pillow she drew a volume 
of Victor Hugo's ''Feuilles d'Automne," and 
thus, thanks to French poetry, I saw a little 
more of the girl than I otherwise should. 
While I was reading to her, the young hus- 
band sat watching his wife. It might have 
been my imagination, but I had the feeling 
that the intensity of his gaze tired her, that 
had he gone out she would have rested 
better. 

The next day I went to read to Nor-Sem- 
bah again, as I had promised. In the sitting- 
room, on this day, there were the two fathers, 
in addition to the two mothers and the young 
husband. I started to leave the room, when 
I saw them all there, but the Valide and the 
young wife asked me to stay, and though, 
afterwards, I would have given a good deal 
not to have been there, it was my fate to be 

208 



present at the only disagreeable scene I wit- 
nessed during my stay among the harems, 
and one which seemed to me quite at vari- 
ance with their great ideas of love. 

A buxom, good-looking slave came into the 
room, magnificently dressed, and offered us 
some sweets from a tray she was carrying. 
With the exception of Hakif Bey we all took 
some, and Nor-Sembah raised her head a 
little and followed with her eyes the move- 
ments of the slave. Hakif Bey not only did 
not take any sweets, but while the slave was 
in the room kept his eyes fixed on the garden. 
Nor did he turn his head once, while slave 
after slave came into the room on various pre- 
texts. At last, when all had come and gone, 
like dress models in a Parisian shop, Selim 
Pasha came up to his son and taking his chin 
in his hand looked into his eyes. 

'^ As you like, my son, as you like," he said. 
^^ If you do not choose for yourself, we shall be 
compelled to choose for you. As you like, I 
say again.'' 

209 



Hakif Bey's face was dark with resentment. 
^' Why do you expect me to want another wife, 
when my heart is filled with one only ? I shall 
do what you want me to : I shall go away — 
but let me at least go alone. Why must I have 
another woman?" 

"Because her womanly sympathy may 
make the year of waiting easier for you," the 
older man said, very kindly indeed. ''There 
is no need, my boy, for your ever seeing her. 
But the human heart is weak and craves for 
sympathy. We want to provide against that." 

Hakif Bey was about to reply angrily. One 
could see that from his face, and from the 
way he drew his head away from his father's 
hand. But here Nor-Sembah interfered. 
With a quick movement she laid her head on 
his shoulder and took one of his hands in 
hers, while with the other she grasped the 
older man's robe. 

''Father," she implored, "let little Nor- 
Sembah choose for her lord. It will make her 
so very happy to find him a good woman who 

2IO 



will be near him while she is getting stronger. 
I will take some days about it, and I will 
make sure that it is a good woman — but I 
will do it, father; trust little Nor-Sembah!" 

wShe smiled so sweetly and so bravely that 
I knew her cause was won. The older man 
kissed her and left the room. 

That afternoon I went with the Valide to a 
shrine where she was going to pray. With us 
was only one other slave besides the eunuch. 
After the prayer was over we went to a little 
brook to have our luncheon, while the horses 
were resting. After luncheon the slave lay 
down under a big tree and went to sleep, and 
the eunuch drew off a little way, yet keeping 
us under his protecting eye. The Valide and 
I took off our shoes and stockings and put our 
feet in the brook, and then took our work 
from our bags and began to sew. Thus do the 
Turkish women often sit for hours at a time. 

*^What do you think of my boy, Hakif 
Bey?" she asked, after she had taken a few 
stitches on her embroidery. 

211 



"I think he is a splendid fellow," I an- 
swered sincerely. 

^'Does he look to you as if he could stand 
his earthly sorrow like a man?" 

** Do you mean the cruel separation you are 
all preparing for him?" I asked, hotly. 

** There! there! little one, don't get excited. 
We are doing our best." 

''Suppose," I cried, indignantly, "suppose 
the girl dies while he is away — what then?" 

The Valid^ laid her work down in her lap, 
clasped her hands together, and said, ever so 
quietly: ''Nor-Sembah is going to die, little 
one; the great doctor said so two days ago." 

I was choking. "You mean to say that, 
knowing this, you are trying to send him 
away with another wife, and not let them be 
together during her last hours?" 

''Though the great doctor said she was 
going to die, we still cling to the hope of sav- 
ing her. Sometimes even great doctors can 
be mistaken. There is gusel vereni in the 
family, and hers developed three years ago. 

212 



She was so happy when she first married 
that for a time the disease seemed to be 
checked. But the gusel vereni came back 
to her worse than before." 

Gusel vereni is a disease that I have only 
heard of among the Turks. It is akin to our 
consumption, except that the patient loses 
nothing of her looks, and quite often seems to 
grow more beautiful as the end approaches, 
whence the name, which means ^^ beautiful 
decline." 

Notwithstanding the Valide's reasoning, I 
still pleaded with her. ^'Do not send him 
away, Valide; it might kill him, too." 

^^But we want to send him away to save 
him. If he stays here and she dies, he will 
kill himself. If he goes away, she might get 
well ; and if she does not, we will not tell him 
for a year. We will take his child to him, 
and he may learn to love it, and for its sake 
care for life a little." 

''But it is so cruel for her," I still per- 
sisted. 

213 



'^No, no, yavroum, she does not suffer. 
She is earnestly looking for a good woman. 
She never thinks for an instant that she is 
going to die. If the end comes, she will not 
even know it; for it comes very beautifully 
and quietly, almost always when the patient 
is asleep. All her family died like this. She 
has been very happy since her marriage, and 
all her life has been a sweet-scented spring." 

When the day came for me to leave the 
harem, I was sorry. I wanted to stay and see 
the outcome of that little tragedy. I only 
knew Nor-Sembah slightly, but sometimes I 
wondered if she had not assumed the task 
of finding a wife for her husband only in 
order to gain time; or whether it was with the 
idea that little by little he would get accus- 
tomed to the thought and choose one for him- 
self. At any rate, when I left the household 
to go to Russia, a week or ten days later, the 
question was not yet settled, although she had 
seen a number of slaves and had had short 
talks with them. 

214 



-jUJL£>c> 



My journey to Russia was very absorbing. 
I saw many strange scenes and met many in- 
teresting people; yet the Turkish lovers were 
constantly in my mind. Neither did I forget 
them on my return to Constantinople in the 
rush of getting off to America. I wrote a 
note to the Valide, and sent it by a messenger, 
who was to wait for an answer. The answer 
came from Aish^ Hanoum, the third wife of 
Selim Pasha, who told me that both the 
Valide and Djimlah were in the Stamboul 
home, where I could go to see them. 

I broke a day's engagement, and set out for 
Stamboul. When I reached the house, the 
Valide's eunuch opened the door for me and 
ushered me in. I found the Validd in her 
room, but what a difference there was in her 
countenance ! As soon as I saw her I knew 
that the girl was dead. I threw my arms 
around her and began to cry. 

'' Don't ! don't, my child ! Don't go against 
Allah's wishes. Maybe they are happier 
than we know. Kismet!" 

2IS 



jjlsj^ 



^'They!" I cried. 

^^ Sit down there, and I will tell you." In a 
voice which was dry from pain, and abso- 
lutely colorless, the Valide told me the end of 
the lovers. 

^^ She only lived two weeks after you went 
away. Allah took her to him very gently, and 
Hakif was at her side. He was very quiet 
and dutiful. He went about the place and 
chose a grave for her. She was fond of the 
sea and the pine trees, and he bought a piece 
of land with pines overlooking the Bosphorus. 
There they put her to sleep, and Hakif came 
quietly home. That night it rained hard and 
there was a summer storm. Hakif, in the 
middle of that stormy dark night, and while 
every one was in his own room, perhaps 
thought of the lonely little grave at the foot 
of the pine trees overlooking the Bosphorus. 
Perhaps her spirit came for him and called 
him to her. He saddled his horse himself, and 
went to sit with his wife in her new home. 

'' Early in the morning the gardener found 

216 



.jjULo>r> 



the horse, without rider, outside his door. 
We hunted for Hakif everywhere. Then 
his father and I went to the little grave by the 
sea. There, lying on her grave, was Hakif, 
quite, quite dead." 

''He killed himself?" I whispered. 

''No! no! yavroum. The doctor said that 
after he was drenched by the rain, he prob- 
ably fell asleep on the grave, and a chill killed 
him — but I know. Allah, in his supreme 
clemency, took him to his heart, and gave him 
back his bride, now cured from all earthly 
ills. And now by the foot of the pines, over- 
looking the Bosphorus, there is no longer a 
solitary little grave; for there is another that 
keeps it company." 

This was the end of the two lovers, whose 
love was the cause of their death. Often I 
find myself dreaming of them, when heaven's 
lamp burns low, and when the imagination 
roams into the realm of the world beyond. 
Is she an houri now? and has he become 

217 



^I}\bj£> 



pure as the first man whom God created? 
and are they walking together in the Garden 
of Eden, if that is now above? It is unfor- 
tunate that some one will always come in to 
light the lamp, when one's thoughts have gone 
farther and farther away, until almost one has 
reached the river over which the soul alone 
may go. But in the dusk the lights must be 
lighted, and the wandering thoughts are 
brought back from the boundary which di- 
vides this world from that which is to come. 
The litde boat with Charon waiting in the 
stern resolves itself into a morris chair; and 
the angel who was ready to divest my soul 
of my body emerges from the gloom as a 
bookcase, while the angePs flaming copper- 
colored hair is only the back of some bril- 
liantly bound book. And of all the musings 
there only remains the thought that some day 
I shall cross the river which the lovers have 
crossed, and that then I shall meet again 
my beautiful Nor-Sembah, and know the 
fate of the lovers. 



IX 



A DAY'S ENTERTAINMENT IN THE 
HAREM 

The next to the last day of my visit to 
Djimlah Hanoum was to be devoted to a 
bath-party in my honor. This had been 
promised me before Nor-Sembah arrived, 
and the Valide would not give it up even 
after she saw how really ill her daughter-in- 
law was. The Orientals have a sense of 
hospitality far greater than ours. No sorrow 
or trouble of their own must interfere with 
the discharge of their duties as hosts. And 
although we all felt the approach of the great 
unavoidable one, who comes at the predes- 
tined time to take our dear ones to a better 
world, still they never considered relinquish- 
ing the party they had promised to give me. 

It was to be an all-day afifair, and the in- 
mates of several of the harems in the vicinity 

219 



had been invited. That morning the plain- 
tive sound of the Albanian flute woke me up 
very early. From the platform on which my 
bed was made I could see the shepherd in 
his quaint clothes mounting the hill, behind 
his flock. It was so early that the light was 
grayish, and the hills half lost in a violet haze. 
So quiet was the world that the prat ! prat 1 
prat! of the sheep's feet, advancing to the 
tune of the flute, was quite audible. 

I left my platform and went to the window. 
How different life seemed to me through this 
latticed window from what it had seemed 
only a short time before in New York ! As 
I watched the day creeping across the Bos- 
phorus from Asia, I thought of the course 
of my life during the past six years. I had 
worked with the Americans, studied with 
them, and learned to think their ways. And 
after six years of hurrying, of striving as if 
life counted only by the amount of work 
done, of knowledge acquired, I was back 
again in the calm leisure of Turkey, where 

220 



-JJUU>C> 



eternity reigned, and no one hurried. Not 
to stay, for I fear that he who tastes of 
American bustle can never again live for long 
without it. Yet as I stood at my window I 
was happy — happy to have nothing to do — 
happy merely to live for the pleasure of 
living. 

Everything around me breathed peace and 
contentment. Among the Orientals I am 
always overwhelmed by a curious feeling of 
resigned happiness, such as the West can 
hardly conceive of. I was talking about the 
Turks, lately, with some very intelligent 
American men, and it was only then I fully 
realized the impossibility for the Occidental 
mind, and especially for the active and rest- 
less American mind, to comprehend the 
Turkish temperament. 

*^You cannot convince me," said one of 
my American interlocutors, ^^that human na- 
ture is different in Turkey from what it is in 
America." 

But that is exactly what is, in a measure, 

221 



the fact. And to be able to judge the Orien- 
tals one has, like me, to be born among them, 
to live their life for a time, and to breathe the 
air of contentment that fills their homes. 

Nowhere is the idea of the greatness of the 
Deity felt as among the Orientals. When 
they tell you that God is great, and that 
God alone knows what is good for you, you 
believe it. We, on the other hand, believe 
that it is for us to choose our course, to take 
the initiative. God with us is only a coad- 
jutor: ''God helps those who help them- 
selves," as our proverb teaches us from in- 
fancy. 

A breeze shook the graceful mimosa trees 
beneath my window. The soft, penetrating 
perfume of that essentially Oriental flower 
rose, and brought to my mind the remem- 
brance of my first meeting with Djimlah, 
before either of us was in her teens. It was 
on the Bay of the Bairam. I had gone with 
my father to pay a series of calls on Turkish 
dignitaries. In one place we were received in 

222 



an immense garden, where we were refreshed 
with sherbet and given little baskets of sweets 
to take home with us. My father and our host 
became engaged in a political discussion; 
and I, feeling myself unobserved, trotted ofif 
exploring. Presently I came upon a grove 
of mimosa trees. I wanted some of the flow- 
ers. They were just out of reach. I could 
have climbed the tree, but I had been told 
that I should have to be careful of my frock, 
if Papa were to take me with him. As I stood 
there, longing, a little girl spoke to me in 
Turkish : — 

*' Would you like to have some of those 
flowers?" 

"Yes, but I cannot reach them. Can 
you?" I asked. She was taller than I. 

"I cannot reach them either." She scru- 
tinized me, and added: *'You are a Frank 
child, aren't you?" 

I drew myself up, my blood boiling. One 
has to be born in Constantinople to under- 
stand what the word means to us. By it we 

223 



designate the mongrels who are neither of 
the Greek nor Turkish faith, and whom one 
of our poets characterized as the bastards of 
the Orient. 

*' I am no Frank," I cried. '' I am a Greek, 
which is a greater race than yours." 

In Turkey we learn early to defend our 
nationality. Perhaps that is the reason why 
the good Greek stock comes from there. 

In a friendly tone the little girl responded : 
*'It is nice to be a Greek, and not a Frank. 
But your race is not so great as mine. This 
is my country, not yours." 

I was only eight years old, but I had been 
brought up on the wonders of Greece, and 
knew all the glorious deeds of the heroes of 
'21. I glared at the little girl. She was a 
Turk, taller and stronger than I, but I was 
not afraid of her. 

''You have only had this country a few 

hundred years," I shouted. ''It was mine 

before it was yours. My forefathers ruled 

here when yours were savages. Constanti- 

224 



nople is mine, by rights, not yours — and 
what is more I can lick you." 

I took a step towards her, full of militant 
design. 

She shook her head. ^^This is my grand- 
father's garden; you are under our roof: it 
would not be polite to fight you." Oriental 
children learn the holiness of hospitality as 
early as Greek children learn of their past 
glories. '' I saw you come in with your father, 
and when you came this way, I came, too, 
to make friends. You can have some mi- 
mosa — all you like." 

''I cannot reach it," I said, still sullen. 

*' You can climb up on my back and get it." 

She leaned over against the trunk. I scram- 
bled up on her back, and picked many of the 
flowers. I offered her a few. 

*^ You may keep them all," she said; ''they 
are yours." 

I was relenting, but not very rapidly. I 
should have liked to be friends, had she not 
reminded me that her race had defeated mine. 

225 



We, from the still enslaved parts of old Greece, 
are born with that sore spot in our hearts. 
When it is touched it hurts. 

'^I will give you my basket/' she went on, 
holding out her little hand. ^^It came from 
our Patissah's palace. The candy in it is 
lovely." 

I took her hand, and soberly we walked 
about the garden together. 

''My name is Djimlah," she volunteered 
presently, ''and yours?'' 

I told her. 

"I hke you very much," she went on. 
"And you?" 

Before we reached the place where my 
father was still deep in politics, we had for- 
gotten the differences with which our friend- 
ship had begun. She climbed up on her 
grandfather's knees, and begged him to per- 
suade my father to let me stay with her for 
a few days. 

The old pasha was an influential man: 
my father was a Turkish subject. I stayed. 
226 



.jAs^p- 



That night Djimlah and I slept in the 
same little bed, on the floor of her grand- 
mother's room. It was my first introduction 
to a harem. After that I often stayed with 
her, and came to know other Turkish girls, 
and visited other Turkish harems. Notwith- 
standing our different nationality and faith, 
Djimlah and I became fast friends. Neither 
time nor separation made us forget each 
other. 

While I was lost in my reminiscences, 
shepherd and sheep had disappeared over 
the purple hills; and gradually I became 
aware that other sounds were replacing the 
melody of the flute that had passed beyond 
my hearing. Outside my door there was the 
soft padding of bare feet, now approaching, 
now receding, as if in suppressed excitement. 
I clapped my hands, and Kondje rushed into 
the room. 

''What is happening, child?'' I asked. 

Kondjd smacked her lips, and salaamed 
profoundly. ''They are preparing for the 

227 



bath-party, glorious Hanoum, which they 
are to give to-day in your honor." Another 
salaam. ^^Houri of Paradise, if you will let 
me dress you now, and bring you your coffee, 
you may be ready to see the guests arrive,'' 
she said in coaxing tones. 

^'Kondje, my dear, I am Just as anxious 
to see their arrival as you are, so make haste." 

While I was drinking my coffee, Kondj^ 
again whirled into my room, like a leaf in a 
hurricane, and cried : — 

''Most glorious one! my heart's own little 
one ! [She was at least six years younger than 
I.] Light of my pupils! I have just seen a 
speck of dust over the hilltops. That can 
only be the arriving guests." 

She flashed before my eyes a yellow silk 
gown. ''See! I brought this for you. It will 
make your beauty look as tender as the 
bloom of a ripe peach." 

Without more ceremony Kondj^ started 
dressing me. When I was ready, she in- 
spected me critically and decided that with 
228 



some red beads around my throat and hair 
I should be as attractive as a beautiful pome- 
granate — disregarding the fact that a mo- 
ment before I was to be a peach. She rushed 
from the room and returned in a minute with 
the desired ornaments. 

^' Where did you find them, Kondj^?" I 
asked. 

She made a face at me, gave me two kisses 
on each cheek, and ordered me to keep still. 
Only one thing troubled her. 

"Baby mine, Allah's little flower, won't 
you let me put a little black on your eye- 
brows and lids, and throw a little gold dust 
on your hair ? Ah ! but you would be won- 
derfully beautiful then." 

"Kondje, you may do anything else you 
like with me; but you are not to put any 
black about my eyes." 

She rushed over and gave me an implor- 
ing hug. ''Dear one, don't you know that 
Allah wants people to look their prettiest? 
You know that at the entrance to Paradise 

229 



husbands are asked first of all whether they 
have kept their wives provided with the 
proper number of black pencils for their 
eyebrows!" 

''As I have not a husband to be bothered 
about it at the gate of Paradise, I think that 
I will get along without them," I parried. 
''But you may dye my finger-nails red, after 
the bath." 

Kondje fell to the floor, grabbed her bare 
toes, and rocked back and forth, laughing 
till the tears flowed from her eyes. " Oh ! I 
do love the way you say things," she gasped. 
"You said I might chop your fingers off, 
when really you meant that I might put 
color on them." 

Having failed in the matter of putting 
black about my eyes, Kondje — when her 
amusement over my Turkish was exhausted 
— contented herself with the golden powder 
for my hair, and then stood off and studied 
me from every point of view, to see if she 
had not overlooked some hidden charm, 
230 



which might be brought out. I do not know 
how long she would have kept this up, had 
not the sound of music come to our ears. 
At this she bounced into the air like a rubber 
ball, and before I knew what was about to 
happen, she picked me up and threw me on 
her back like a sack of meal, and ran through 
the halls with me as if my weight were no- 
thing. She deposited me on the little indoor 
balcony of the vestibule, dropped to the floor, 
and panted at her leisure. 

"Kondje!'' I remonstrated, ''you must 
not treat me as if I were a baby." 

She rose up till her fiery black eyes were 
on a level with mine. ''You are a great deal 
more of a baby than I am!" she declared, 
"though I am not yet sixteen, — and besides, 
you have n't a husband." 

"Neither have you," I snubbed back. 

Her face took on a droll expression. She 
batted her eyes mischievously, and brought 
her mouth close to my ear. "I am going to 
have one when the leaves fall,'' she whispered. 

231 



^'Whoishe, Kondje?" 

''You dined with Selim Pasha — yes?" 

I nodded. 

''You saw a big handsome man there, 
standing by the door, seeing that everything 
was right — yes?" 

I nodded again. 

"Most beautiful — hey?" She smacked 
her lips and half closed her eyes. 

"I think he is, Kondje." 

" I shall be his. He has even seen my face 
and touched my hand. I am to live in the 
little cottage on the hill, so as not to be far 
from my mistress." 

Before Kondje's confidences had come to 
an end, the other members of our household, 
dressed in gala costume and preceded by the 
Valide, came down the stairs and filled one 
side of the hall. The wives with their children 
were in the first row, and the slaves behind. 
Two dancing-girls, holding baskets full of 
flowers, on their bare shoulders, stood by 
the door, and several African eunuch boys 
232 



JJis^^ 



were near them with brass trays filled with 
the petals of roses. 

As the guests entered the hall the flower- 
petals were thrown over them. One by one 
the new-comers ranged themselves on the 
opposite side of the hall. When all were in 
place, the salutations began. Down to the 
floor went all the heads, to be raised grace- 
fully, and to go down twice more. Then 
music burst forth, and the ladies of the dif- 
ferent harems embraced one another. Their 
wraps were taken off, and they were con- 
ducted to the sitting-room to drink coffee. 
There I was presented to them. 

'^Here is our little one," said the Valide. 
*' She is leaving us to-morrow to flutter farther 
on her way. She has not yet found her golden 
cage." She put her hand on my head. *' My 
little one, there is no happiness except in a 
prison where the jailer is the lover and the 
life-giver." 

The guests applauded these words, and 
some came over and kissed me. I was espe- 

233 



cially attracted by a certain woman, whose 
type I had never met in flesh and blood be- 
fore. To say that she looked like a Rossetti 
painting would be doing her scant justice, 
yet it was of the Blessed Damosel I thought 
when I saw her. 

I crossed the room and went to her. " You 
speak French?" I asked. 

She took my hand in both of hers, leaned 
forward and kissed me several times on the 
eyes. **So I do, little one." 

Our talk was trivial, but the woman be- 
came more and more interesting to me. 
Abruptly she said at length : — 

''You will come and spend a day or two 
with me." 

"I am sorry, but I can't," I answered. "I 
am going to Russia in a few days, and have 
things that I must attend to." 

She put her arm around my waist. "Never 
mind, you must come to me for a night, at 
least. I came here to-day especially to ar- 
range about it. I had heard so much about 
234 



you, and I am in trouble and need your 
help." 

The entreaty in her voice, and the hint in 
her words carried away my imagination, 
and regardless of all duties I found myself 
pledged to go to her on the following night. 

A bevy of slaves, attired in the lightest of 
diaphanous garments, now entered the room, 
and salaaming with forehead to floor an- 
nounced: '*If the honorable company is 
ready, so is the bath-house." And to the 
sound of music they accompanied us to it. 

It was a coquettish little building, fairy- 
like in its arrangement, and was a monu- 
ment to the love of Selim Pasha for his first 
wife. I was told that he had seen to every 
detail of it himself, and that only when it 
was completely finished had he conducted 
his bride to it. Though a separate building, 
it was connected with the main house by a 
glass corridor, heavily curtained. We en- 
tered a large marble hall, with a big fireplace, 
wherein the coffee was always made. The 

23s 



walls of the hall were composed of small 
pieces of marble, of different colors, in various 
patterns, so that at first sight they looked 
as if covered with pale Oriental rugs. The 
hall was three stories high, to the roof, and 
the ceiling was decorated with a row of 
dancing cupids. Ten marble steps, running 
the whole width of the room, led up to a 
raised landing, whence windows looked into 
the garden. From this landing, slender 
marble columns supported a balcony, from 
which the dressing-rooms opened, on the 
second floor. Rich rugs, and brocade hang- 
ings, and mirrors on doors and ceilings, 
made the bath-house stunning. In the dress- 
ing-rooms the colors were reds and browns, 
giving a curiously autumnal effect. 

When we went to our dressing-rooms my 
little Kondje took possession of me, and 
after making me ready for the bath, threw 
over my shoulders a lovely pestemalj a big 
soft white towel with yellow stripes of thick 
silk running through it. 

236 



" This, most honored Hanoum, is for your 
greatness, from the Valide, honored and be- 
loved first wife of Selim Pasha, the Magnifi- 
cent. As you are the guest of the party," 
she explained, '^all the ladies will give you 
presents," 

She took down my hair, braided it in two 
braids, and arranged it on top of my head, 
fastening it tightly ink head-kerchief of pale 
yellow silk, the edge of which was trimmed 
with silver thread. 

"This, honored Hanoum," Kondje an- 
nounced again, "is for your greatness, from 
the second wife of Selim Pasha, the Mag- 
nanimous." 

She took from a little box a chain with 
two coral pendants, and placed it around 
my forehead. "This, honored Hanoum, is 
for your greatness. It comes from Aishe 
Hanoum, third wife of Selim Pasha, the 
Wonderful." 

She stepped back a few steps to survey 
me, her head on one side ; smacked her lips 

237 



with satisfaction, and salaamed. ''Now, 
honored Hanoum, you may proceed, and I, 
the humble one, will follow." 

As I came out of my room several other 
pestimal-covered ladies, barefooted and 
barearmed, emerged from theirs, and we 
salaamed most profoundly, as if attired in the 
most formal manner, before we went down- 
stairs. There, Djimlah — as Kondje would 
have put it, fourth beloved wife of Selim 
Pasha, the Generous — greeted me and 
presented me with a pair of takouns. They 
were of carved oak, and the leather straps 
which fastened them to my feet had my 
monogram on them in silver. 

The heads of the other households also 
gave me various trinkets, mostly charms 
against the evil eye; and amid the singing of 
slaves we went into the bathing-room. The 
sight that greeted us when the door was 
opened was beautiful in the extreme. The 
marble rooms were decorated from floor to 
ceiling with laurel, and the marble settees, 

238 



in the middle of the rooms, were masses of 
color, being covered with flowers, in pots. 

We passed in through a human lane of 
slaves, who relieved us of our pestemals; and 
thus, chaussees, coiffees, mats pas hahilUes, 
we entered, leaving outside all self-conscious- 
ness; and soon the splashing of the water, 
the singing of the slaves, and the laughter of 
all filled the huge resounding rooms with 
the gayest of noise. 

Each lady was in the hands of her slave, 
and my little Kondje was droller than ever. 
In her flowery Oriental language she invested 
me with all the beauties of the world. The 
Venus of Milo was nothing in comparison 
with me, whose size is that of a Jap. While 
she was bathing me she kept on repeating, 
^'Mashallah! mashallah!" lest some djinn 
or ev-sahib, seeing my beauty, might be 
tempted to cast an evil eye on me. 

The temperature of these rooms was 170°, 
yet we stayed in them for hours, oblivious of 
the heat. After an hour, the flowers withered, 

239 



and were removed; the settees were washed, 
and light refreshments brought in. Near the 
end of our stay a regular cold luncheon was 
served, and I may say here that the cold 
dishes prepared for ^^haman" are worthy 
of poetry for their description. We sat on 
the settees as we ate, with a slave on each 
side : one to pass us the new dishes, the other 
to take away those we were through with. 

Luncheon over, our pestemals were thrown 
over us and we passed out of the hot rooms 
into the cooling-rooms, where, as we lay on 
the couches, the slaves covered us with heavy 
burnouses. A new pleasure was awaiting us 
here. While we had been bathing, the re- 
clining-room had been decorated with leaves 
and flowers, in the form of numerous arches. 
Under these we lay on snowy sheets and 
pillows, wrapped in our silk coverlets, while 
our hair was taken down and rubbed with 
rose-petals, before being tied up in soft, 
absorbent towels. Next came the dyeing of 
eyebrows, and lashes black, and of finger- 

240 



nails crimson; and, last of all, the flower- 
bath. 

The heavy hangings were now lowered 
over the windows, till the light was dim, and 
then to the sound of a low, murmuring song 
we fell asleep and rested till late in the after- 
noon. Immensely refreshed we woke up, 
dressed, and went out on a hill to watch the 
setting sun. The Turks are not sun-wor- 
shippers, but to miss a sunset with them is 
almost as great a misdemeanor as to omit 
praying when the muezzin calls the faithful 
to prayer from the top of the minaret. 

That night, after dinner, we had our third 
pleasant surprise when the Valide presented 
to us the world-famed story-teller, Massaljhe- 
Hiran. She salaamed to us with as much 
dignity as does Paderewski before he takes 
his seat at the piano. She was dressed in 
dark red silk, embroidered with green leaves. 
Her hair was braided, arranged on top of her 
head, and surrounded with a green silk head- 
kerchief, on which patterns were worked in 

241 



garnets. Her face, long, thin, and sallow, 
was very pale, accentuating a pair of large 
black eyes, which were made to look larger 
yet by black pencilling. Her lips were dyed 
brick-red. A pair of earrings, so long as to 
touch her shoulders, gave a barbaric aspect 
to her Eastern face. Her sleeves were of 
fleecy material and quite loose, her arms 
being covered with ancient bracelets. Her 
hands, interesting-looking rather than pretty, 
were literally covered with rings, — presents, 
mostly, from the powerful of the land. 

She took her place in the middle of the 
floor, removed a pair of embroidered red 
slippers from her feet, and sat down cross- 
legged on a cushion. All the ladies and slaves 
sat around her in the form of a semicircle. 
A few among those present had heard her 
before, but most of us knew her only by 
reputation. In the attitude of that small 
audience there was a worshipfulness that 
strongly affected me. I felt that I was in the 
presence of genius. 

242 



" Good-evening, honorable company," she 
said, touching the floor with her fingers, and 
then kissing them to us. Her voice had some- 
thing of the same quality as Sarah Bern- 
hardt's, only it was on a much lower key. 

She began her story with a description of 
a stormy night. Presently the woman next 
me shivered, and unconsciously I drew a 
scarf around me, before I realized with a 
smile that we were in a warm room. The 
story she told was her own; it was on the 
same theme as that of Francesca da Rimini, 
or Tristan and Isolde, but with Oriental ac- 
cessories, and a different ending. It related 
the fate of a young and beautiful Persian 
princess, who, while on her way to become 
the bride of a king, fell in love with the cour- 
tier who had come to take her to her lord. 
Princess Yamina, on discovering that the 
man who was conveying her to be the bride 
of the king had become master of her spirit, 
had her tent put up, retired into it, and 
placed around her couch twelve of her young 

243 



maidens, making thus of chastity and purity 
an insurmountable barrier. She lay there, 
praying to Allah for strength, and taking only 
enough nourishment to keep the breath of life 
in her frail body. When, once a day, it was 
necessary for her to receive the King's envoy, 
she sat erect, fortified by her maidenly pride, 
while Love's tyrannical hand was tearing 
at her bleeding heart. In two days she was 
strong enough to continue her journey. 
When she arrived at the castle and was re- 
ceived by the King, an elderly benevolent 
man, she prostrated herself before him and 
told him the truth. 

*''Kill me, my master,' she moaned, 
'since I was not capable of bringing to you 
intact the heart of your future wife. Pierce 
with cold steel the body that is not worthy 
of your love, but do not touch it even as you 
might that of a slave; for it is polluted by 
thoughts of love for another.' 

'^ She lay there waiting to be slain. A side- 
door opened without noise, and the young 

244 



courtier entered — he who had stolen the 
heart and the thoughts of the prostrate 
princess. He advanced into the middle of 
the room and stood there with his arms 
crossed on his noble breast. The princess 
raised her head, saw him, and rose to her 
feet, no longer trembling. She was the 
woman, now, protecting her heart's lord." 

The narrator paused and glared at us. 
She was for the moment the woman ani- 
mated by more than the instinct of self- 
preservation — by the savagery of the woman 
defending the man she loved. Her voice, 
when she spoke, sounded thick: I felt as 
if I were in a thunder-storm. 

^^^Do not strike him, my master, he is in- 
nocent! It is I who must pay the price — 
I the guilty one. It is not his fault that Allah 
made him so beautiful and noble that no 
woman could help loving him. Kill me ! ' she 
cried. 'Give me the most cruel death, but 
spare him!''' 

Massaljhe-Hiranwas kneeling on one knee. 

245 



She begged and implored, and we saw the 
princess herself passionately trying to save 
the life of her lover. 

In the end it turned out that the young 
courtier was the King, and all ended hap- 
pily. Such was the nervous pitch to which 
Massaljh^-Hiran had wound us up, how- 
ever, that many were sobbing when she 
ended, and I suddenly became conscious 
that the tears were trickling down my own 
cheeks. Moreover, my muscles had become 
so rigid, in the intensity with which I had 
followed her story, that they actually pained 
me when they became relaxed. Only on one 
other occasion have I had the same feeling, 
and that was when Henry Irving, as Robes- 
pierre, faced the ghosts. 

However, the Orientals seldom allow one 
set of artificially produced emotions to domi- 
nate them, and after the story- telling was at 
an end, dancing-girls glided into the room, 
and, to the sound of gay music, completed 
the day's entertainment. 
246 



JJIpjJ^ 



Thus ended my visit to Selim Pasha's 
hospitable household, though not my expe- 
riences with Turkish women. In my last visit 
I was to hear a story, and to play a part in 
it, which I know must seem almost incredible 
to those who do not understand Turkey. 

Djimlah, Houlme, and Aishe Hanoums, 
with a retinue of slaves, came down to the 
shore of the Bosphorus, where my unknown 
lady's little caique was awaiting me, to see 
me off. I was sorry to leave them, and 
said so. 

*^ Why not stay with us," suggested Djim- 
lah hopefully; *' marry one of our men, and 
know happiness?" 

I shook my head. Why I might not, I did 
not know; except that, although the Greeks 
may love and respect the Turks, may live 
side by side with them, there must always 
exist that antipathy of the blood to remind 
us that they are our conquerors, and that 
sometime we must drive them from our 
land in order that the priests may finish the 

247 



jMjijs> 



holy litourghia,^ and our statues may no 
longer be cold in exile. 

Yet I bade my Turkish friends farewell 
with a full heart and silent tears. I jumped 
into the waiting catque, the catksti, in his 
silky bembazar, pulled at his oars, and we 
were gone. 



X 

A FLIGHT FROM THE HAREM 

As the boatmen rowed me swiftly from 
one bank of the Bosphorus to the other, and 
then along to the Sera'i Bournou, I gazed at 
the illuminated city which displayed itself 
before my dazzled eyes. It happened that 
Constantinople was making herself beauti- 
ful that summer night, to celebrate the an- 
niversary of her ruler, the Commander of 
the Faithful. 

Near and far the slender minarets were 
covered with microscopic, many-colored oil 
lamps, in various designs, the half-moon be- 
ing the favorite. The balconies of the houses 
of the wealthy were playing the same tune, 
on a lower key, as the tall minarets, while the 
banks of the most beautiful river in the world 
were masses of lights. The city was alive; 
the harbor was filled with ships adorned with 

249 



.JjUL2/x> 



strings of lanterns from mast to mast; and 
the horizon was ablaze with fireworks. One 
would say that even the sky partook of the 
festivities : its deep indigo was picked out in 
golden stars, while a silvery moon was gazing 
coquettishly at the thousands of half moons 
that strove to reproduce her grace. 

Arrived at the house of my Rossetti lady, 
a slave took charge of me; and when I was 
bathed and perfumed, and dressed in soft, 
Oriental clothes, I was left to my own de- 
vices. I crouched on the low divan by my 
window and peeped through the lattice at 
the splendors outside. 

The door of my room creaked, and as the 
light from the hall shone in I saw that it was 
my hostess who had entered. 

'^ Os-geldi ! Os-geldi ! " she called out. Her 
two outstretched hands got hold of mine, and 
she drew me to her bosom. ''My little blos- 
som, what are you doing here in the dark? 
Are you helping Allah to weave garlands for 
your romances?" 
250 



'^I was looking at the beauty outside." 
^^Nay, my little jasmine, from the tone of 
your voice I know that you were in dream- 
land. Some time dreams will be made true; 
and may they come true in your life." 

There was a pathos in her voice that I had 
not detected at our previous interview. Ros- 
setti's poem came back to me, and I said 
aloud, gazing at her beauty : — 

"Her body bore her neck as the tree's stem 
Bears the top branch; and as the branch sustains 
The flower of the year's pride, her high neck bore 
That face made wonderful with night and day.'* 

''Why do you say those lines?" my hostess 
asked. 

''Because you make me think of them." 

"Do you mean that I look like Rossetti's 
paintings?" 

"I rather think you look like his poems: 
you are the embodiment of them." 

"And am I this to you?" 

"Yes, you are this to me. Ever since I 
first saw you I have been drawn to you. By 

251 



rights I ought to be somewhere else to-night, 
but I am with you. It was of you I was 
thinking when you came into my room. Do 
you know, I do not even know your name. 
That does not matter, though, for to me you 
are my Rossetti lady." 

The Turkish woman sat on the divan, near 
me, her fingers playing with my loose hair. 

''You are a sweet-scented little bride," 
she said irrelevantly. ''Where is the bride- 
groom, little one?" 

"Your slave just gave me a heliotrope 
bath," I explained; "and as for the bride- 
groom, I am afraid his grandsire died heir- 
less." 

" Yavrounty you are a very dear person, 
and I hope some day you will know the joy 
of being a wife." She was silent for a long 
time, and then asked, suddenly: "Shall I tell 
you why I insisted so strongly at the bath- 
party that you should come to see me?" 

"Then it was n't because you liked me?" 

"Yes, indeed, dear little flower of the 

252 



.JJUL£,^£> 



pomegranate tree. The minute my eyes met 
yours I knew that I liked you, and I knew 
that you belonged to us Oriental women. 
That is why I asked you to come. I wanted 
to ask you to do something for me, something 
which I can only trust to few ; and if I come 
to you with my troubles the first minute of 
your being under my roof, it is because I do 
not want you to feel that after you have 
broken bread with me you will be obliged to 
do what you would not wish to. I will tell 
you everything, and if when you have heard 
me you wish to go away and forget me, 
the little boat you came in is waiting for 
you." 

My pulse quickened. What could she be 
going to ask me to do? 

^' Yavrounty^^ she went on, '' before I tell 
you anything, do you know where this dwell- 
ing of mine is?" 

''No, you asked me to meet the boatman 
so late that I scarcely know in which part of 
the country it is." 

253 



_i^£,^i> 



" I am very glad. I want you not to know, 
for your own sake." 

Every word she spoke seemed to add to 
the romance of the situation. I was to learn 
the story of my Rossetti poem, and I felt sure 
that it could be nothing less than a wonder- 
ful love story. Bits of all the Oriental tales 
I knew came thronging to my mind. I was 
afraid to utter a word, lest I should break the 
spell and she should withhold her confidence 
from me. In my sojourn among the Turkish 
women I had always been expecting to come 
across some wonderful, out-of-the-common 
romance; but their lives, when seen near at 
hand, were generally as uneventful as the 
most conventional Western life. Now, at 
length, I felt that I was to learn of one that 
would come up to my expectations. 

"I was once a very beautiful woman," my 
hostess began in the simple, un-self-conscious 
manner of the East. 

"Mashallah! are you not now?" I cried. 
*^I would give my soul to look like you." 
254 



She smiled. 

*^ Yes, I know I am good-looking still; but 
a woman nearing thirty is not the same as at 
twenty; and when I was twenty I was very 
beautiful indeed. I was born and brought 
up in Asia Minor, where my father was a 
governor. My maternal grandmother, a 
woman of advanced ideas, sent a French lady 
to educate me, when I was only three; and 
when I was fifteen, and my mother died, I 
was brought to Constantinople and married 
to my husband, who is ten years older than I 
am. Three children were born to us, and 
my life ought to have been very happy. And 
it would have been if my head had not been 
full of French stories. I read all the time, 
and it made me feel that I, too, had the right 
to be a heroine. 

^^One day, when I was twenty years old, 
I was going from my home to Foundokli in 
my little caique. It was a hot afternoon and 
I had my feredje thrown back a little, and 
only had my veil around my face, not over it. 

255 



_iJULo^j> 



In mid-stream we met another catque in 
which was a young foreigner. When he saw 
me, he cried something aloud in his own 
tongue, and from his look I knew that it was 
of me he spoke. So I drew my veil close 
over my face and brought the feredje around 
me. This did not discourage the man, how- 
ever, and he ordered his caique to follow 
mine. It was a very dangerous thing he did, 
and had my eunuchs been with me there 
would surely have been trouble. 

**He followed us to where we were going, 
and then went away, apparently thinking 
that that was my home. Two days later I 
had partly forgotten the incident, though I 
did think a good deal of the man and his good 
looks, when his boat happened to meet mine 
again. He exclaimed, this time in French: 
^At last I have found her!' 

''I don't need to go into particulars, but 

the man did everything in his power to come 

into my life. My husband was away at the 

time, and I was alone, and lovesick, perhaps. 

256 



The foreign man managed to send me letters. 
At first I resented his writing to me, and 
would hardly read them; but he was very 
young and handsome, and he wrote me such 
letters as they write in books, and my head 
became so turned by the romance of it that 
some months after the time he first met me, 
I left my husband, my home, and my babies, 
and went with him.'* 

My Rossetti lady had been telling me her 
story in such a quiet, restrained voice that at 
first even this climax did not seem startling. 

^^Have I told you that he was an English- 
man, and what they call a lord in his coun- 
try? He took me to Scotland, and there 
married me. The first three years went like 
a dream. He did not keep me behind lat- 
ticed windows, but he kept me under closer 
watch than I had ever been before, and 
guarded me as if he could never be sure of 
me; though I was constantly in society and 
saw a great deal of that world which had 
always been such a mystery to me. I don't 

257 



know whether I loved him during those three 
years or not. All I can say is that my life was 
like a picture-book whose leaves were turned 
very fast. He took me to his mother. He was 
an only son, and she was very kind to me. I 
do not think that besides his mother any one 
knew that I was Turkish. He took me to his 
court, and I meet his queen; and we went 
from one place to another all over Europe. 
He was very rich and liberal, and everywhere 
we went I had a house of my own, but I was 
always a prisoner. 

^^It was in the south of France that my 
baby was born. To think that Allah could 
bless such a union with his most wonderful 
gift!" she cried, clasping her hands to her 
heart. "It was a little girl, and Edgar named 
her Hope, because he said she was the hope 
that I at last belonged to him entirely. 

''When they put the baby into my arms I 

knew why Allah had sent her to me. It was 

like the breaking of a spell, the lifting of a 

veil from my clouded vision, and I saw my 

258 



past life, my husband, and my babies loom 
up as if from another world. From that 
minute I had no peace of mind. Whether 
asleep or awake there was only one thought 
with me : my husband. I began to remember 
all the little things he had done and said to 
me, and gradually I began to worship him. 
I wanted him as I never knew before that one 
human being could want another. And all 
that time I was loved, almost devoured, by 
the man who had taken me away from my 
home. I could not bear it. I began to plan 
and plan how I might go back to my own 
people and my own country. 

^^When, as a girl, I had read about Euro- 
pean life it had seemed to me so attractive, 
so wonderful. But when I came to taste it, 
it was empty and bitter. European women 
have no friends, as we understand them. 
They have no leisure hours to think and to 
dream, and to come to know themselves and 
their God. They do not even have time to 
take care of their children; and nurses, with 

259 



whom they would not for anything in the 
world associate themselves, are intrusted 
with the sacred duty of forming their chil- 
dren's minds. Indeed there is nothing sacred 
in a European woman's life, — at least, 
yavroum,^^ she modified her statement, '^not 
in the lives of the women I have seen. Do 
you know, little bride of the river, that 
though Edgar had kept me so close to him, 
lots of men had told me things they had no 
business to tell me. Oh ! I was sick of it all. 
Not once in all those dreary years had I met 
with people who said, *If Allah wishes it,' 
'If it is the will of Allah.' But I prayed and 
prayed to my great Allah to let me return to 
my own people. And he heard my prayer. 

^' We were in Scotland, and an uncle of Ed- 
gar's died, leaving him an estate and money. 
Edgar had to go, and could not take me with 
him because I was ill As soon as he went 
out of the house I took pen and paper and 
poured my whole heart out with it, and sent 
it to my husband. I implored him to take 
260 



me back, even if he now had other wives ; to 
give me just a little corner, from which I 
could watch him and be near him. 

*^I sent the letter, and waited. How slow 
the days were, and at the end of each there 
came a letter from Edgar full of his wild 
love for me, which sickened my heart. Two 
weeks had gone by ; Edgar was to come back 
soon now, and no reply had reached me. 

^' One evening as I was sitting in my room, 
the tears trickling down on my breast, the 
footman came to tell me that a tall, dark 
gentleman, who refused to give his name, 
wished to see me. I ran downstairs, and 
there in the hall stood my husband. 

''He took me into his arms, tears and all, 
and an hour later I escaped with him, and 
came back to my home. Before I left Scot- 
land I wrote a letter to Edgar, telling him 
that my husband had come for me, and that 
I was going home to my people. 

'^Yavroum, can you believe it, but my 
husband still loved me, and my place in his 

261 



heart was still empty and waiting for me. 
He forgave all; for he understood. 

**A month had not gone by when Edgar 
was in Constantinople. He came straight 
to my husband and accused him of stealing 
me away from him. It was a very danger- 
ous thing to do, and any other man than my 
husband would have had him killed and 
thrown into the Bosphorus. But Ahmet Ali 
ordered the carriage and told Edgar to come 
with him and see me in my Stamboul home. 
There he brought him into the sitting-room 
and left him with me alone. 

'' When Edgar saw me he held out his arms 
for me; but the sight of him filled me only 
with loathing. 

^* I can never forget him, never. Yavroum, 
whatever your life may be, be careful with 
men. If you hurt one of them, and he turns 
on you his sad eyes, they will follow you 
through life. Sometimes when you will forget 
and be happy playing with your baby, that 
baby will look at you as the man did, and 
262 



JJlfiJ^ 



there will be no joy for you. If you ever be- 
long to one man, even though you may think 
that there is no great love in his heart for you, 
stay by him, and do no wrong. 

**I was full of bitterness that day for Ed- 
gar. I accused him of having done me a 
very great wrong, though, in truth, the wrong 
was mine. When I told him that I did not 
love him, that I never had loved him, that it 
was a silly girPs whim that took me to him, 
I think he would have killed me if my hus- 
band had not stepped in. Then he turned 
furiously on Ahmet, and would have killed 
him, I know, had not Ahmet been too quick 
and too strong for him. He had a white 
cloth, wet with some chemical, in his hand, 
and forced this over Edgar's face; and after 
a terrible struggle he threw him to the floor, 
and there he presently lay as if dead, though 
Ahmet said he was only unconscious. Then 
instead of killing him, rriy husband had him 
put on a ship that was going away. 

**I did not hear of him again until two 

263 



years later, when Ahmet told me that Edgar 
had been killed, and that his child was under 
my husband's care. And now, yavroum, I 
come to where I must ask you to help me. 
Edgar's mother is having search made every- 
where for the child ; even the Sultan has been 
approached by the English ambassador. I 
want you, yavroum, when you go back to 
America, to write a letter to her and tell her 
that Hope is happy and well; and that, con- 
sidering that she has Turkish blood in her, 
we are bringing her up as a noble Osmanli 
woman should be brought up. Should the 
child, however, when she grows to be a 
woman, seem unhappy in Turkey, we will 
send her back to her in England. But I must 
teach her now, while she is little, something 
of the greatness of Allah. Here, yavroum, 
is the address to which to write." 

Mechanically I took the piece of paper 
with the address on it, and stared at my Ros- 
setti lady as she finished her story and made 
her request. 
264 



JjXfi/£>^ 



She was looking at me imploringly. 

*' You will, yavrounij will you not? For if 
the old duchess makes much fuss, I am afraid 
I shall lose the child." 

''Are you afraid of your husband killing 
it?" I asked. 

The horror in her face showed me that we 
had got beyond the bounds of possibility. 

''Oh, no! only she might have to be sent 
into Asia Minor, to my husband's mother, 
and then I should not have the chance to 
watch over her myself, and to give her back 
to England, if she should desire it." 

"Hanoum, why don't you send her now ?" 
I asked. " She is English through her father, 
and she is the only child that grandmother 
has." 

My Rossetti lady's face was again nearly 
as horror-stricken as before. 

" Give the child to be brought up among 
that godless set of people. No ! no ! I could 
not do it! Besides, my pasha would never 
hear of it. He says that the little girl is partly 

265 



jMsj^ 



I, and that he could never give any part of 
me, no matter how small, to the infidels." 

'' Do you want me to write under my name 
or yours?" I asked. 

''Neither, yavroum. Just any name, and 
no address. I shall give you a little minia- 
ture of the child, and Several pictures. Send 
them to the grandmother, and tell her that 
once a year pictures and news of the child 
shall be sent to her, and that little Hope is 
well and happy." 

'' How can I say that, since I have not seen 
the child?" I protested, rather feebly. 

''You shall see her to-morrow." 

I was not happy in the situation. I had 
had my fill of romance, to be sure ; but I had 
been dragged into playing a part in it that I 
did not particularly approve of, although I 
knew the futility of trying to play any other 
part than that assigned to me. I looked out 
of my latticed window upon the Bosphorus, 
and as I looked the mystery of the East again 
stole over my senses. I turned my eyes to 
266 



.JjULo>£> 



the woman, slim and graceful, and of a beauty 
that I could well believe had inspired the love 
it had in two men of alien races, and my 
Western prejudices fell from me. 

^'Dear Hanoum," I said, ''I will do what 
you ask me to do/' Then emboldened by 
the favor I was going to do for her, I asked, 
as perhaps only in that dark room of another 
world I could have asked : '' Do you love your 
husband as much as you thought you did ? '' 

She leaned over and took my hand. 

*^Dear little blossom, you don't know 
what love is, do you ? I love my husband a 
million times more than I ever did before, 
though the past can never be undone, and 
whenever I feel my husband's eyes upon me 
I shudder at the thought that he may possi- 
bly be thinking of that other man. A woman 
can never belong to two men — never! A 
woman is a flower, and cannot be touched 
by two persons without being polluted. The 
past always comes between, yavroum; but 
out of that sorrow I can be a good mother, 

267 



a good wife, now when the storm no longer 
blows, though the trees have fallen, and the 
wreckage is all around me." 

She leaned forward on the divan, held her 
palms upward, and prayed to her God : — 

*' O Allah, take care of the living, and for- 
give the dead!" 

It seemed all in keeping with the night and 
the woman, looking more than ever like the 
embodiment of a poem, a greater poem now 
than Rossetti ever wrote. She was the East 
itself: the mysterious East, with its strange 
ideas of love, and death, and of religion. 

After one of those silences that seem a nat- 
ural part of an Oriental conversation, my 
Rossetti lady drew me to her and kissed me, 
saying : — 

** Little crest of the wave, you have helped 
to give peace to one who has brought storm 
to life. May the doing of this for me be 
rewarded with a fund of happiness from 
which you may draw daily." She rose to 
her feet as she spoke. *'Come, let us go 
268 



down where you can meet my lord and my 
children/' 

They were in the dining-room, and had 
apparently been awaiting us; for along the 
wall stood a row of motionless slaves, one 
hand, in military style, straight down at their 
sides, the other supporting the dishes that 
were on their heads. 

*^This is my husband,'' said my hostess, 
putting my hand into that of Ahmet Pasha. 
*^Our American friend." 

'^We are happy to have you among us, 
young Hanoum; and this anniversary of our 
great Pattishah will be doubly celebrated 
by us hereafter,'' he said, with simple sin- 
cerity. 

Ahmet Pasha was a Saracen evidently, not 
a Turk, and as I looked at him I did not 
wonder that my Rossetti lady had left the 
Englishman and come back to him : I only 
wondered that she had ever left him. In his 
splendid uniform and his decorations he was 
an almost ideal hero. I was surprised at his 

269 



taking dinner with us, but heard later that he 
always ate with his wife except when there 
were Turkish women present. 

The children were very pretty and healthy 
looking, and most devoted to their mother. 
After the meal was over we were taken to the 
Sultan's palace, where a midnight banquet 
was served to a thousand pashas and foreign 
grandees. We women sat with the women 
of the palace in the gardens, watching the 
fireworks, and refreshed with sweets and 
sherbets every five or ten minutes. 

Home again, and my Rossetti lady took 
me to her room and showed me the necklace 
of red rubies her husband had given her that 
day, as is customary on public anniversaries, 
and the neglect of which would have been 
equivalent to a notice of impending divorce. 
Next she opened her jewelry box and asked 
me to choose from it anything that took my 
fancy, since she wished to give me some- 
thing. While we were examining the jewels, 
and when she had begun to let down her 
270 



hair, Ahmet Pasha sent word to ask if he 
might come in and join our conversation. 
The Turks quite often turn night into day 
when the fancy takes them. We did that 
night; thus not going to bed until after five 
o'clock. 

As we sat there on the divan, my Rossetti 
lady had her hair loose on her shoulders, 
except for a ribbon holding it back from her 
face. Ahmet Pasha gathered a strand of it 
in his fingers, and turned to me. 

'^ Did you ever see anything more exquisite 
in your life?" he asked. 

I had to admit that I had never seen any- 
thing to equal it. 

**Nor is there a woman more charming/' 
he said, his Turkish politeness not permitting 
him to declare in the presence of another 
that she was the most charming of all. 

My Rossetti lady took his hand and kissed 
it in silence; and I thought I saw, together 
with love, the gratitude of a woman who has 
sinned and has been forgiven. 

271 



In the forenoon of the next day the Turkish 
lady came to the house. With her were her 
slaves and a child. At once I recognized 
whose child it must be. 

I took her on my lap, and spoke to her in 
English. 

''Little girlie, what is your name?" 

The child looked at her mother, put her 
little finger in her mouth, and whispered : — 

''I am mother's little Hope. But they call 
me Salih^ Hanoum now." 

''Do you like things here?" I asked. 

"Yes; and soon I am coming back to live 
with mother" ; and with the words she scram- 
bled down and ran to my Rossetti lady. 

This day was the last time I ever saw any 
of the household of Ahmet Pasha. In a few 
days I went to Russia, and some six weeks 
later returned to Constantinople to take the 
steamer for Naples, where I was to meet 
the boat for America. The steamer was one 
of those semi-freight afifairs that carry more 
cargo than passengers, and spent a day or 
272 



two each at some eight ports before reaching 
Naples. On the quay, as I was embarking 
at Constantinople, a young Englishman had 
been introduced to me by a member of the 
Greek Legation. We two were the only first- 
class passengers who made the whole trip 
to , Naples, and naturally we became well 
acquainted by the time we reached Sicily. 

The night that the boat stopped at Palermo 
we were sitting on deck. It was a warm Oc- 
tober night, brilliant with starlight, a night 
whose witchery plays the mischief with the 
tongues of people. My Englishman lost the 
reserve that he might have kept under a 
northern sky, and began to tell me why he 
had come to Turkey. 

*^It was a wild-goose chase," he said, ^'and 
I tell you I never wish again to have much 
to do with your Turkish friends. I was hunt- 
ing for a child, the child of my cousin; but 
I might as well have been trying to kidnap 
the Sultan." And interlarded with ^' don't 
you know's" and ^^fahncy's," he told me 

273 



the story which two months before, again on 
a wonderful southern night, gloriously illu- 
minated, a Turkish woman had told to me. 

^'You see Edgar could not stand it," he 
concluded. ''Two years after she left him 
he blew his brains out. No one knew the 
woman was Turkish, except his mother, and 
now myself. I met her once, and I tell you 
she was the kind of a woman a man would 
go mad over. Immediately after Edgar's 
death the child was stolen, and my aunt was 
almost prostrated by it. That is why I have 
been hunting through Turkey for her." 

''What makes you think that the child is 
in Turkey?" I asked, making my voice as 
steady as I could. 

" Oh, the husband sent a letter from Paris, 
saying that he had taken the child to bring 
up in the truth faith; but you see we don't 
know where they are. We don't even know 
that they live in Constantinople, and Tur- 
key is beastly big when you go on a hunt like 
mine. All the same, I have an idea that had 
274 



I stayed much longer in the capital I should 
have disappeared, too, and no one would 
ever have heard of me again, although I 
had the help of the Embassy." 

My eyes were fixed on the lights of Pa- 
lermo, and on Monte Pelegrino beyond, and 
I did not speak. Perhaps my English friend 
thought I was not as much interested in his 
account as I might have been. If he had 
only known how interested I was ! 

I thought of the addressed envelope down 
in my trunk, and of the miniature and the 
photographs of an English child. But this 
was not mine to tell, nor would it have helped 
him if I had. 

The lights of Palermo twinkled cheerily at 
us across the water; but behind them Monte 
Pelegrino seemed to loom sardonically, as if 
it were amused at the tiny struggles of the 
insects at its feet, who called themselves 
men. 



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
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